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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
7 May 2015

Reporting period: 27 April - 4 May 2015

Weekly Highlights

Thirteen (13) Palestinians, including two children and five journalists, were injured by Israeli forces during various clashes across the West Bank in the context of demonstrations marking the World Press Freedom Day; the weekly protest against the longstanding closure of one of the main entrances to Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); a search and arrest operation in Nablus city; in addition to one Palestinian injury with live ammunition fired by the train guards at Jerusalem light train after alleged attempts to stab Israelis at the station. This is the lowest number of injuries in an entire week since the beginning of 2015.

At least 25 incidents involving Israeli forces' opening fire at Palestinian civilians in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and sea in the Gaza Strip were recorded this week, resulting in no casualties. On at least one occasion, members of the armed groups in Gaza reportedly fired a rocket towards Israel that fell short inside Gaza and resulted in no injuries or damage.

320 Palestinians, half of them children, from six small herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley, were temporarily displaced for several hours during two days in the context of a large Israeli military training exercise. Temporary displacement in these circumstances has become systematic in recent years, with 98 such incidents recorded since the beginning of 2012. This practice generates a coercive environment that contributes to pressuring Palestinian residents to permanently leave the affected areas. A senior IDF officer has indicated that such exercises contribute to the prevention of illegal construction in Area C.

The Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian structures in two communities in Area C for lack of Israeli-issued building permits, affecting at least two families. This brings the total number of structures demolished on these grounds in Area C since the beginning of 2015 to 189, compared to 216 in the equivalent period of 2014.

On 4 May, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a request by the residents of the Palestinian village of Susiya south of Hebron to issue an interim injunction freezing any planned demolitions in the village, prior to a ruling on the residents' main petition to the Court consider alternative planning in the area. This decision paves the way for the Israeli authorities' implementation of pending demolition orders against virtually the entire village's structures at any moment. This development raises concerns about the forcible transfer of Susiya's 450 residents, including 120 children.

Israeli forces conducted 95 search and arrest operations and arrested 106 Palestinians in the West Bank; both Nablus and Hebron governorates accounted for the highest proportion of operations (23) while the highest number of arrests (41) was recorded in Jerusalem. Also, nine Palestinians were arrested by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip while attempting to cross into Israel without a permit.

Four Israeli settler attacks resulting in Palestinian injuries or property damage were reported, including two physical assault incidents leading to the injury of three Palestinian men. Property damage incidents included the vandalizing of seven trees in Husan village (Bethlehem) and the damage of a water network serving at least 40 Palestinian households in the Israeli controlled H2 area of Hebron city. Additionally (not included in the count) an allegedly deliberate hit and run incident by an Israeli settler, resulting in the injury of a five-year-old child, was reported in Ar Rifa'iyya (Hebron).

Three incidents involving stone-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli vehicles travelling in the West Bank were reported by Israeli media, resulting in two Israeli injuries, as well as some damage to an Israeli bus.

During the reporting period, 997 truckloads of construction materials entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, marking a weekly record since February 2013.This increase follows a recent upgrading of the crossing's capacity, along with the agreement reached in September 2014 on the entry of restricted building materials for the repair and reconstruction of homes and infrastructure damaged and destroyed during the summer hostilities (the Gaza Reconstruction Mechanism). However, while repairs of homes receiving minor or moderate damage have been carried out, due to multiple constraints, including lack of funds, reconstruction of totally destroyed homes has not started yet, and about 100,000 people remain displaced

The Rafah crossing was closed in both directions by the Egyptian authorities during the week. The crossing has been continuously closed since 24 October 2014, following an attack in Sinai, except for 12 days, on which it was opened, but with restrictions. The crossing was last exceptionally opened for one day only on 10 March 2015. This measure is affecting at least 30,000 people registered for crossing to the both sides.

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