|Five Palestinians injured in the Access Restricted Areas
Incidents involving Israeli forces opening fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) at land and at sea have continued on a daily basis, with nine such incidents reported during the week, including one resulting in injuries. On 12 December, four Palestinian civilians reportedly engaging in stone throwing at Israeli forces, were shot and injured at around 100 meters from the fence, east of Jabalia. Also in the ARA, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians reportedly during attempts by them to infiltrate into Israel in search of work.
Palestinian access to areas in the vicinity of the fence has increased since the ceasefire of 26 August 2014. However, the Israeli authorities have so far not officially announced the boundaries of what they consider a restricted area, thus generating uncertainty and increasing the risks to the civilian population. Field observations suggest that areas within 100 meters from the fence are largely inaccessible, while access to areas several hundred meters beyond this distance is risky. Access to fishing areas in the sea is restricted to six nautical miles from the coast. These access restrictions, imposed by the Israeli military citing security concerns, continue to undermine the livelihoods of thousands of farmers and fishermen and their families.
A family of six, including three children, injured by unexploded ordnance (UXO)
On 12 December, a Palestinian family of six, including three children was injured as a result of the explosion of an UXO in Jabalia, when family members started a fire to bake bread. The presence of UXOs continues to pose a high risk to civilians, particularly children. Since the ceasefire of 26 August, four Palestinians have been killed in UXO incidents, including a 4-year-old child, and 15 others injured, including eight children. This brings the number of fatalities to 10, including one child, and injuries to 48, including 20 children, since the beginning of 2014.
According to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), children, humanitarian workers, rubble-removal workers, scrap collectors, construction workers, internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their damaged homes, and farmers working and/or living in the Access Restricted Areas have been identified as the most exposed groups to UXO hazards.
Three Palestinians injured in explosions by unknown assailants
During the reporting period, three people including a child and a Palestinian policeman were injured in two separate incidents involving the detonation of explosive devices planted by unknown assailants. Thus far, no party has claimed responsibility for the attacks; Palestinian factions in Gaza including Hamas condemned the attacks and called on the Ministry of Interior to bring the perpetrators to Justice.
On 10 December an explosive device detonated in front of a building in Rafah, housing several public offices and institutions, injuring, a mother and her 11-year-old child in the house opposite. The explosion also caused material damage to the building, five adjacent buildings as well as to 20 nearby stores. In another incident on 12 December, an explosive device detonated in front of the French Cultural Centre west of Gaza city, injuring a Palestinian policeman and causing damage to the center’s fence. The centre was previously targeted on 7 October 2014, but continues to operate. Palestinian police have opened investigations for both incidents.