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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
4 September 2012



    UNITED NATIONS
    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    occupied Palestinian territory



PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS WEEKLY REPORT


التقرير الأسبوعي لحماية المدنيين

29 AUGUST - 4 SEPTEMBER 2012

Key issues
Thirty-two (32) Palestinian civilians, including 14 children, displaced due to the Israeli authorities demolition of Area C structures.

Two settlement outposts evacuated by Israeli forces following a court ruling. About 100 additional outposts, including many built on private Palestinian land, remain in place.

Twelve Palestinians, including a child, were accidently injured, and a number of residential buildings sustained damage, as a result of misuse of weapons by Palestinians in the Gaza strip.

WEST BANK

Significant decrease in Palestinians injured by Israeli forces

This week, 17 Palestinians, including four children, were injured by Israeli forces, significantly fewer than the number of Palestinians injured on average per week thus far in 2012 (61). Most of these injures (14) were sustained in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya), during a weekly demonstration against the prohibition on the use of the main road connecting the village to Nablus City, and to agricultural land in the vicinity of Qedumim settlement (10), or during an arrest operation in the village (4). The remaining three injuries occurred during the weekly demonstration in An Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah) against settlement expansion.

Demonstrations also occurred this week against the Barrier (Bethlehem); in solidarity with Palestinian detainees held at Ofer prison (Ramallah); against the planned closure of the Ras Khamis checkpoint (Jerusalem); against access restrictions imposed near Karmei Tzur settlement (Hebron); and against settler violence and the closure of the main entrance to the community of Al Buweira (Hebron). No injuries were reported.

Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Injured this week: 17
Injured in 2012: 2085
2012 weekly average of injured: 61
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
search and arrest operations by Israeli forces this
week: 89

Also this week, on 2 September, Israeli troops positioned at Huwwara partial checkpoint (Nablus) physically assaulted and arrested a 14-year-old child, reportedly for possession of a Molotov cocktail. In two separate incidents, Palestinians threw a bag near Ni’lin checkpoint (Ramallah) containing four pipe bombs, which Israeli forces reportedly defused, and threw a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli army jeep near Hagay settlement (Hebron). No injuries were reported.

Israeli settler violence

This week, Israeli settlers carried out seven attacks resulting in Palestinian casualties or property damage, resulting in the injury of two Palestinians, equal to the 2012 weekly average of seven incidents per week. Four Israeli settlers were also injured by Palestinians during the week.

Both injuries occurred on 1 September, first in East Jerusalem, when around 20 Israeli settlers from Ramat Shlomo settlement entered the Shu’fat area and stoned several Palestinian houses and vehicles, injuring a 19-year-Palestinian male who was hit in the head with a stone. According to the Israeli media and police spokesperson, three Israeli settlers were reportedly injured by stones and another three were arrested during the incident. The second injury occurred when Israeli settlers threw stones at and injured the 33-year-old Palestinian driver of a vehicle traveling near Beit Ummar (Hebron).

Also this week, in an apparent “price tag” attack, Israeli settlers entered Al Jalazun refugee camp (Ramallah) and sprayed Hebrew graffiti on a Palestinian house, on two cars, and fire to a third car. The graffiti included slogans such as “Revenge”, “Death to Palestinians”, and “Migron”. The Israeli army launched investigation into the incident (see section outpost evacuations herein).

In the Nablus governorate, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinian workers in the village Qaryut while the latter were surveying the main entry road of the village, damaging surveying equipment, which will cost at least NIS 25,000 to repair. The road in question, which is located in Area C and links the village to the RamallahNablus main road, has been opened for only five months; it was closed by the Israeli military 2000, and repeatedly reopened by Palestinian residents. According to the village council, Israeli authorities have now agreed to approve the road and the village was in the process surveying it for a permit application when attack occurred.

In other incidents reported during the week, Israeli settlers set fire to and destroyed NIS 15,000 worth of hay (Jericho) and damaged several Palestinian-plated vehicles with stones (Jerusalem).

Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
this week: 7
2012 weekly average: 7
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
this week: 2
Injured in 2012: 117
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
this week: 4
Injured in 2012: 32
Injured in 2011: 37

In three separate incidents in the Ramallah and Hebron governorates, Palestinians threw stones at Israeli-plated vehicles, in one case injuring a male settler and, in another case, damaging the vehicles.

Demolitions and displacement in Area C

Israeli forces demolished 10 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank this week, including five residential structures, displacing 32 Palestinians, including 14 children.

On 29 August, the Israeli army demolished one residential structure and two animal shelters in the village of Arab Ar Ramadin Ash Shamali (Qalqiliya), which is located between the Barrier and the Green Line, displacing a family of eight members, including two children, and affecting another family of 13 members. The demolished structures were replacement structures for ones demolished in October 2011. The animal structures provided shelter to approximately 100 sheep.

Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
this week:
Demolished: 10
Demolished in 2012: 467
Of which residences: 140
People displaced in 2012: 702
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 13 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 20 vs. 21

Also on 29 August, Israeli forces demolished seven Palestinian-owned structures (including four residential tents, a barrack and two kitchens), displacing four families of 24 members, including 12 children, in Al Hermeh /Al Kurshan area, located in a closed military zone (Firing Zone 914), near Al ‘Ubeidiya (Bethlehem). Israeli forces also damaged a fence surrounding an animal pen, donated by international NGOs and the PA and confiscated eight tents, seven of which had been donated by the international community, including several that had not yet been erected, and one donated by the PA. In the northern Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities confiscated four water tanks belonging to four Palestinian families from the Humsa Bedouin community (Tubas) on the grounds that they are illegally present in closed military area (Tubas). The Israeli authorities have designated approximately 18% of the West Bank as a closed military zone for training, or “firing zone”; Palestinian presence is formally prohibited in these zones without permission from the Israeli authorities, which is rarely granted. These declarations have had a serious humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians and dramatically reduced the land available to them for residential and livelihood uses.

The Israeli police and border police fenced off, with barbed wire, part of a Palestinian family’s house in the Ras Al Amoud area of East Jerusalem. The affected area (one room, kitchen, bathroom, yard and part of the land around the house) was subsequently handed over to Israeli settlers. Several months ago, an Israeli court ruled that the family must evacuate the affected area by 2 September; following a protracted legal battle over ownership of that portion of the property. The evicted part of the house was inhabited by a Palestinian family (all registered refugees), comprising three people, including one child, who were displaced when they moved out of the house a few months ago. The remaining two housing units located on the same plot of land are inhabited by 12 people, including four children. In recent years, efforts to establish Israeli settlements in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem have intensified. At present, an estimated 2,000 settlers reside in such settlements, in houses which have been expropriated by means of the Absentee Property Law; on the basis of alleged prior Jewish ownership; in buildings purchased from Palestinian owners; and in residences custom built and financed by settler organizations.

Two Israeli settlement outposts evacuated

Israeli forces evacuated settlers from the settlement outposts of Ramat Migon and Migron, both in the Ramallah governorate this week.

During the evacuations, Israeli forces erected several flying checkpoints in the area and troops were deployed in nearby Palestinians villages. Fifteen (15) Israeli settlers were reportedly arrested during the evacuations. No injuries were reported. Migron settlement was evacuated following a protracted legal battle dating back to 2006 when the Israeli Peace Now movement filed a case with the Israeli High Court of Justice (HCJ), along with some of the Palestinians owning the land on which Migron had been established, calling for its removal. This is the second ruling of its type implemented in recent months. There are two additional outposts that the State committed to evacuate in coming months (Givat Assaf and Amona). There are an estimated 100 settlement outposts in the West Bank, many of which are built on privately-owned Palestinian land. Under the 2003 Road Map, Israel committed to dismantling outposts erected since March 2001.

GAZA STRIP

Despite firing of rockets and air strikes, situation remains calm in Gaza and southern Israel.

During the reporting period the general situation inside the Gaza Strip was relatively calm, despite Israeli air strikes inside Gaza and Palestinian projectiles firing toward southern Israel and Israeli military positions near the fence separating Gaza and Israel. In two separate incidents on 31 August and 3 September, the Israeli air force launched several air strikes targeting Palestinian groups’ military bases northwest of Gaza City and near the power plant, north of Al Nuseirat camp. As a result, two armed men were reportedly injured and a nearby house and two schools sustained damage. According to the Israeli army, the air strikes were in response to Palestinian rocket fire towards southern Israel. On 2 and 4 September, Israeli forces located near the fence arrested five Palestinians, including three children, aged 15 and 16 years old, allegedly for attempting to infiltrate into Israel through the fence, east of Al Bureij camp.

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas along the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, as well as to fishing zones beyond three nautical miles from the Gaza Strip shore, continued. On at least three occasions, Israeli forces opened warning fire towards Palestinian farmers while working their land, forcing them to leave the area. As a result, on 29 August, a 42-year-old female farmer was injured by Israeli gunfire approximately 400 metres from the fence while she was working her land. Also, on at least three occasions, the Israeli navy opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore.

Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
killed this week: 0
killed in 2012: 47
Injured this week: 3
Injured in 2012: 249
2012 weekly average of injured: 7
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Israeli casualties by Palestinian fire from Gaza
Injured this week: 0
killed in 2012: 1
Injured in 2012: 18

During the reporting, in at least three incidents, 12 Palestinians, including a child, were accidently injured, and a number of residential buildings sustained damage, as a result of misuse of weapons. These incidents prompted the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) to raise concerns about the increasing number of casualties resulting from the misuse of weapons in residential areas in Gaza.

Unemployed youth sets himself ablaze in Gaza

On 2 September, the Gaza Ministry of Health spokesman stated that a Gazan youth, from Ash Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City, was pronounced dead after sustaining serious burns a few days earlier. According to local sources, the 18-year-old youth poured petrol on himself and set himself on fire, near Shifa hospital in Gaza City on 29 August. The victim’s father stated that his son did so out of desperation because he could not find work.

Gaza authorities demolish a number of structures, including residential structures

On 3 September, the Gaza authorities demolished approximately 18 structures, reportedly including four residential structures, displacing approximately 25 people and affecting an additional 75. The structures were located in an agricultural area, northwest of Beit Lahyia, and were reportedly demolished due to their location on “state land”. A few of the affected families remain displaced at the site of demolition, while the majority has moved to new locations. According to some of the affected families, they were not provided compensation. Exact details of the process leading to the demolitions are still being assessed. On 8 July, the Gaza authorities demolished approximately 200 residential structures in Gaza City on the same grounds.

Latest Development: On 5 and 6 September, the Israeli military targeted a car and a group of Palestinians east of Al Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza strip and northeast of Beit Hanoun, respectively, killing six alleged armed men and injuring another one. According to the Israeli military, the attacks targeted a rocket-launching cell and an armed group planting an explosive device near the fence.

Rafah Crossing re-opens in both directions

The Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened in both directions during the reporting period; approximately 5,427 persons, including students, patients, foreign passport holders, and people with residency permits in foreign countries, reportedly exited the Gaza Strip to Egypt; 5,048 persons entered the Gaza Strip and 185 persons were denied access to Egypt for unknown reasons. According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, due to the ongoing access restrictions, thousands of Palestinians are still registered and waiting to leave Gaza.

Power cuts continue to disrupt daily life inside Gaza

The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) is currently operating three out of four turbines (producing 50 to 70 megawatts), due to a shortage of fuel. The GPP needs over 3.5 million liters of fuel a week in order to operate at full capacity. However, less than 80 per cent of this amount was reportedly received from Egypt through the tunnels over the reporting period. The transfer of the Qatari fuel from Egypt (via Israel) through the official crossings has remained blocked reportedly by the Egyptian authorities since 6 August. Currently, the total electricity deficit rate reaches up to 50 per cent, forcing the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO) to apply strict distribution schedule of eight hours of electricity supply and eight hours of electricity cuts.

Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Imports:
number of truckloads (tL) entered this week: 1,607
tL carrying food: 51%
Weekly average of tL since the beginning of
2012: 1,053
Weekly average of tL before the blockade: 2,807
Exports:
truckloads this week: 0
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 5
Weekly average before the blockade: 240

Tunnels continue partial operations; one killed and another injured in a tunnel-related incident

On 4 September, a tunnel worker was killed and another one was injured when a tunnel under the border between Rafah and Egypt collapsed, bringing the total number of workers killed in tunnel–related incidents since the beginning of the year to 11. Tunnels remain a significant source for the transfer of certain goods, including construction materials that are restricted through the official crossings with Israel, as well as fuel that is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.

According to local sources, including tunnel owners, tunnels between Gaza and Egypt continued to only partially operate, due to new Egyptian security restrictions on the Egyptian side of the tunnels area. However, despite the reported limitation in the tunnel activity in general, the flow of fuel from Egypt continued. Approximately 700,000 liters of fuel are entering Gaza each day - this includes over 400,000 liters designated for the GPP each day.

Please note that the figures in this report are subject to changes upon the receipt of additional information.


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