One Palestinian was killed in a protest against the takeover of private land by settlers. In 2011, five out of 12 Palestinians killed by both Israeli forces and Israeli settlers in the West Bank, and 975 out of 1,516 of those injured, fell in settler attacks, or during protests against measures aimed at protecting settlements or allowing for their expansion.
In the Gaza Strip, Israeli forces killed two Palestinian civilians and injured another 20, most of them by air strikes.
The lives of 450 patients on kidney dialysis from Gaza became at risk, as essential drugs reached zero stock levels due to the lack of coordination between the health ministries in Gaza and Ramallah.
A Palestinian killed in a demonstration;
settler violence continues
A 28-year-old Palestinian man died on 10 December of wounds he sustained the previous day when he was shot at close range by an Israeli soldier with a tear gas canister that hit his face. The incident occurred in the village of An Nabi Saleh (Ramallah) during a confrontation between Palestinians and Israeli forces that took place during the weekly demonstration against the takeover of private land by Israeli settlers from the Hallamish settlement and the lack of law enforcement by the Israeli authorities.
The Israeli Military Police opened an investigation into the killing. While the rules of engagement of the Israeli military prohibit the firing of tear gas canisters at people’s bodies, since the beginning of 2009, one other demonstrator has been killed and 376 others have been injured in these circumstances. Israeli forces injured another six people this week in the same demonstration. Two Palestinian women and one Israeli peace activist were also injured in clashes with Israeli forces during the man’s funeral.
Sixteen Palestinians sustained injuries in other weekly demonstrations throughout the West Bank, including 12 people injured in a protest against the continued closure of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum village, which leads to Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya); three in protests against the isolation of agricultural land by the Barrier in the villages of Al Ma’sara (Bethlehem) and Bil’in (Ramallah); and one in a demonstration against access restrictions to agricultural land near the Karmei Tzur settlement in the Hebron governorate.
In a separate incident this week, five school children, aged between 15 and 17, were stopped and physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces staffing a flying checkpoint near Al Jab’a village (Bethlehem).
This week, OCHA documented six settler-related incidents affecting Palestinians and their property, compared to a weekly average of eight incidents since the beginning of 2011.
In one incident this week, Israeli settlers stoned Palestinian-plated vehicles driving on the Nablus-Qalqiliya main road, injuring three Palestinians. Also this week, in two separate incidents, Israeli settlers stoned eight houses in ‘Asira al Qibliya village and threw a Molotov cocktail at another house in ‘Urif village (both in Nablus), causing property damage. Settlers also entered Bruqin village (Salfit) and attempted to burn a mosque and set fire to two vehicles, damaging the vehicles.
This week also registered at least three attacks perpetrated by right wing Israeli and settler assailants against Israeli soldiers and policemen. These incidents triggered widespread condemnations by senior Israeli officials, as well as the approval of a range of “extraordinary measures” to be used against suspects and perpetrators. These include, among others, granting soldiers the authority to arrest violent settlers and prosecuting Israeli settlers in military courts. While such measures are widely used when it comes to offences allegedly perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis, they have been rarely used against Israeli settlers, though the authority to implement such measures has always been in place.
Number of people displaced due to
demolitions since the beginning of
the year exceeded 1,000
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished ten Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits.
In East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities demolished three structures, including a house, a beauty salon and a balcony, displacing two people and otherwise affecting 38.
In the herding community of Khan Al Ahmar, east of Jerusalem, Israeli forces demolished two residential barracks and confiscated another residential tent donated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), displacing eleven people, including nine children. This is the second time in less than two months that the community experiences demolitions. This is one of 20 Bedouin communities in the Jerusalem periphery at risk of being transferred from the area in the context of an Israeli “relocation” plan. Much of the affected area is planned for the expansion of the Ma’ale Adummim settlement (the so-called E-1 plan).
Also in Area C, the Israeli authorities demolished a water cistern that was donated by an international NGO to the community of Beit Ula (Hebron), bringing the total number of water-related infrastructures demolished in 2011 to over 40. In addition, four agricultural rooms in the town of Beit Jala (Bethlehem) were demolished, affecting the livelihoods of 18 people, including three children.
Also this week, five Palestinian farmers received evacuation orders to leave their agricultural lands planted with olive trees in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan (Salfit) within 45 days. According to the Israeli authorities, the property is “state land”, while Palestinians say they have official documents proving their ownership over the land. At least 80 people are affected.
Escalation in Gaza continues; four
killed and 20 others injured
For the second week in a row, Israeli forces launched air strikes inside the Gaza Strip and opened fire near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, killing four Palestinians, including two civilians, injuring 20 other Palestinian civilians, and damaging several residences. Palestinian armed factions also intensified rocket firing towards southern Israel. While no injuries or damage to property were reported inside Israel, three Palestinian houses and an UNRWA school in the Beit Hanoun and Beit Lahiya areas sustained damage when some of the rockets fell short and landed inside the Gaza Strip. In the former incident, two people were injured.
On 9 December, the Israeli air force launched air strikes towards a Palestinian military training base in Al Magousi area in the Gaza City, damaging several nearby houses, and resulting in the death of two Palestinian civilians, including one child, along with the injury of another 11 Palestinian civilians (including 5 children). Also in a separate incident in Gaza City, Israeli air strikes injured three civilians, including two children (aged 8 and 10), when they hit an empty house, and damaged the house and nearby residences.
Air strikes this week also targeted a vehicle carrying Palestinian militants in the Rimal area inside Gaza City on 8 December, killing two militants and injuring four Palestinian civilians, who were in a public park nearby, which was full of people at the time of the attack.
In two separate incidents near the fence, Israeli forces injured two Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, when they opened fire at farmers and workers collecting scrap metal. On two separate occasions, Israeli bulldozers and tanks launched incursions approximately 300 meters inside the Gaza Strip and withdrew after conducting land leveling. In four separate incidences this week, the Israeli navy opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. During the reporting period, Israeli forces demarcated the areas accessible by Palestinian fishermen – 3 miles offshore - by placing a number of sea buoys. Restrictions on access to the sea, imposed at the current limit since early 2009, have caused a dramatic decrease in the fishing catch. So far, 2011 has recorded the lowest fishing catch in the past 12 years.
Shortfall of medical supplies continued,
putting critical patients at risk
According to the Ministry of Health (MoH) in the Gaza Strip, health facilities and warehouses in Gaza are experiencing significant shortages: 25 percent of items in the essential drugs list, and 20 percent of items in the essential disposables list, are out of stock. This situation is endangering the lives of many patients, including approximately 450 patients on kidney dialysis. According to the MoH in Gaza, the shortages are mainly due to the lack of coordination between the two ministries of health in Gaza and Ramallah.
Limited agricultural produce allowed
out of Gaza
A total of eight truckloads carrying 29.8 tonnes of strawberries were allowed out of Gaza this week. Since the beginning of 2011, around 200 truckloads of limited cash crops exited Gaza to Europe, compared to nearly 10,000 truckloads of a wider range of cash crops, furniture and textiles, among others, in 2005. Prior to the blockade imposed in 2007, some 95 percent of exports were designated for the West Bank and Israel markets, while only five per cent were marketed to other destinations. Due to the ongoing blockade and related ban on the transfer of goods to these two key markets, the volume of production and employment in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors remains severely confined by the small size of the local market and the low purchasing power of the people.