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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
17 June 2013




Key issues

Over 540 trees and 2,000 dunums of grazing land damaged in Israeli settler attacks.

A total of 17 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished in Area C due to lack of permit, displacing 35 people and affecting the livelihoods of around 40 others.

Destruction of tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border by the Egyptian authorities, together with ongoing restrictions on imports via Israel, trigger shortages of fuel and construction materials.


WEST BANK



Decline in Palestinian injuries in clashes with Israeli forces

Nearly 50 Palestinians were injured during the two-week reporting period in various clashes with Israeli forces. Approximately, 30 percent of this period’s injuries occurred as a result of tear gas inhalation, 26 percent by rubber-coated metal bullets, 26 per cent by physical assault or other means, 7 per cent after being hit by tear gas canisters, and 4 per cent by live ammunition.

Sixteen (16) injuries occurred during three separate protests against longstanding access restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities citing security concerns related to adjacent Israeli settlements: in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya), against the closure of one of the village’s entrance; in Bil’in village (Ramllah) against the isolation of agricultural land by the Barrier; and next to Surif village against the closure of the road connecting it to the nearby Jab’a village.

Additional clashes took place in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) during a search-and-arrest operation conducted by the Israeli military in the village; seven Palestinians were injured, including three minors. Three other Palestinians were injured in Nablus City by tear gas fired by Israeli forces, who were accompanying an Israeli group that came to pray at the Tomb of Joseph (a religious site), after the group was stoned by local residents.


Significant damage to agricultural property in settler attacks

DzIn the largest incident during this period, on 5 June, Israeli settlers set fire to agricultural land belonging to Far’ata village (Qalqiliya), resulting in damage to 500 olive trees. A Palestinian Fire Brigades team that arrived at the scene was subsequently stoned by the settlers; two of the team members were injured. Around 40 other olive trees and seedlings were reportedly damaged by settlers in three incidents in the villages of Qusra (Nablus), Beit Ummar (Hebron) and Nahhalin (Bethlehem). Finally, in an incident near An Nassiriya and ‘Azmut villages (Nablus) Israeli settlers reportedly burnt 2,000 dunums of grazing land, affecting the livelihoods of 13 Palestinian families.



Twelve residences and six livelihood structures demolished

During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished 17 Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank due to the lack of building permits and one additional structure was demolished by its owner in East Jerusalem after receiving a demolition order. Overall, 35 people, including 15 children, were displaced as a result, and around 40 other people were otherwise affected.

Eleven of the structures demolished by the Israeli authorities were located in An Nuwei’ma village in the Jordan Valley, including eight residential structures (four of which were uninhabited), two portable latrines and an animal shed. The five displaced families also reported losing some of their belongings in the demolition. Two other uninhabited residential sheds and two animal shelters were demolished and a water tank was confiscated in As Simiya community in South Hebron. Another house and an animal shed was demolished in the Barta’a Asharqiya village (Jenin), located in the closed area behind the Barrier, displacing one family.

Also on 6 June, the Israeli authorities verbally informed a Bedouin community (28 people) located next to Bir Nabala village (Jerusalem), in an area between the Green Line and the Barrier, that unless they evacuate the area (no specific date was indicated) their structures will be demolished.


GAZA STRIP

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.

Internal violence

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.






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