Two Palestinian families were forcibly evicted from their homes in the Palestinian neighbourhood of Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem following a court ruling ordering their eviction. Israeli settlers have subsequently moved into the residences.
Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip were reduced to approximately 12 hours per day after fuel was imported from Israel to operate the Gaza Power Plant. Basic services and daily life continue to be severely disrupted.
Clashes during weekly demonstrations result in dozens of Palestinian injuries
Around 90 percent of this week’s injuries occurred in weekly demonstrations. These protests were held against the continued closure of the main entrance to Kafr Qaddum village in Qalqilya, which also leads to the village’s agricultural land and to the Qedumim settlement (24); against the construction of the Barrier on Bil’in land in Ramallah (5); against the expansion of Hallamish settlement in Ramallah (4); and against access restrictions near Karmei Tzur settlement in Hebron (1).
Also, three children (aged 12, 16 and 17) were injured when hit by sound bombs fired by Israeli forces clashing with the residents of Al Isawiya neighbourhood in East Jerusalem. Two other Palestinians were injured in clashes during a demonstration at the Israeli Ofer Prison (Ramallah) commemorating Palestinian Prisoner’s Day on 17 April. In the same context, over one thousand Palestinians prisoners began this week an open-ended hunger strike protesting the practice of administrative detention (imprisonment without charges or trial) by the Israeli authorities.
Also this week, one Palestinian female and two international activists were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces during a cycling event in the Jericho governorate to support the Palestinian people and to promote tourism. One of the assaults was videotaped and triggered an investigation by the Israeli military.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 3
Killed in 2011: 11
Injured this week: 38; 34 in weekly demonstrations
Of whom were children: 6
Injured in 2012: 651
2012 weekly average of injured: 42
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations this week: 67
Settler violence against Palestinians and their property continued. In three separate incidents, Israeli settlers clashed with Palestinian farmers working their land near Susiya (Hebron) and Yitzhar (Nablus) settlements and inside the Old City of Hebron. As a result three Palestinians and two settlers were injured. Also in the Old City of Hebron, Palestinians stoned settlers, injuring two of them. After the incident, settlers physically assaulted and injured a Palestinian. In addition, settlers reportedly vandalized over 250 olive trees, the majority of which belonging to Beitillu village (Ramallah), bringing the total number of Palestinian-owned trees vandalized by settlers since the beginning of the year to around 2,160. In a number of incidents affecting Palestinians, but resulting in no casualties, settlers threw stones, fired shots in the air and clashed with Palestinian farmers and herders in the Qalqiliya and Hebron governorates.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 8
2012 weekly average: 5
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 4
Injured in 2012: 39
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 4
Injured in 2012: 15
Two Palestinian families forcibly evicted from their houses in East Jerusalem
On 16 April, two Palestinian families were again ordered by the Israeli police to evacuate their houses in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem, following receipt of a final eviction order issued in late January 2012. Two days later, the families were forcibly evicted from their homes by the Israeli police. This incident comes in the context of a decade-long legal battle between the families and Israeli settlers concerning ownership of the land on which the houses are located. Two other families, from the same extended family and living on the same plot of land, evacuated in late February. In total, 22 people, including 11 children, have been forcibly displaced.
Initial reports indicate that Israeli settlers have moved into the affected residences and the Israeli group Peace Now reports that there is an approved plan to build dozens of settlement housing units in the area. The eviction of the family this week follows several similar cases. In 2009, nine Palestinian families were evicted from their homes in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem to make way for further settlement expansion, which is unlawful under international law.
Access to water in water scarce regions further undermined by demolitions
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished 25 Palestinian-owned structures due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. This is the highest number of demolitions that took place in a single week during the last two months.
In Kafr ad Dik village (Salfit), the Israeli authorities demolished four residential structures, 11 animal shelters, three agricultural rooms and four water cisterns, displacing 30 people, including 18 children, and affecting the livelihoods of eight families. Another three water cisterns, which are the primary source of irrigation for more than 100 dunums of agricultural land, were demolished in Al Majnona area in Hebron. This brings the total number of water cisterns demolished since the beginning of the year to 11, nine of which have been demolished in regions affected by high water scarcity in the Hebron governorate.
Also in Hebron, two stop-work orders were issued against a residential tent and an animal pen in Susiya village. Susiya faces a high risk of forced displacement due to the lack of adequate planning and its close proximity to an Israeli settlement. At least 70 percent of the existing structures in the community, including the school, have pending demolition orders.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 209
People displaced in 2012: 418
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 13 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 27 vs. 21
Opening fire incidents in access restricted areas undermine security and livelihoods
While the situation inside the Gaza Strip remains relatively calm this week, with no reports of Israeli air strikes, Israeli forces opened warning fire towards Palestinian farmers working their land near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, injuring one of them. This incident comes in the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence.
The Israeli Navy continues to restrict access to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore. In two incidents, two Palestinian boats were intercepted within the 3-nautical miles and searched by Israeli forces and four fishermen were reportedly taken for interrogation inside Israel before they were released; one of the boats was confiscated. In four other incidents, Israeli forces fired warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. Also this week, Palestinian armed groups fired a number of projectiles towards southern Israel and military bases, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 29
Injured this week:1
Of whom were children: 0
2012 weekly average of injured: 10
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Power outages remain as high as 12 hours per day, disrupting delivery of vital services and daily lives of 1.6 million people
The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continues to receive industrial fuel (purchased from Israel), enabling the plant to operate one of its four turbines, which produces 30 megawatts (MW). As a result, power cuts were reduced to 12 hours per day on average throughout the Gaza Strip, down from up to18 hours per day during the previous two months. The four electrical transformers that were delivered to the GPP last week to enable it to raise its operating capacity to around 120 MW have not yet been installed.
Fuel and electricity shortages affect the delivery of services as well as the daily lives of 1.6 million Gazans. Around 30 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population continue to receive running water for six to eight hours once every four days only; 20 percent receive water for six to eight hours once every three days; 35 percent for six to eight hours once every two days; and 15 percent for six to eight hours once a day. Gaza hospitals continue to rely on backup generators as a result of electricity shortages.
Also, according to the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA), almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip remained closed or partially open for a few hours due to lack of fuel, with long queues of cars and people reported at the stations.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)