Escalation in Gaza and southern Israel results in the killing of seven Palestinians (including three civilians, one of whom was an infant) and the injury of 14 other Palestinians (including 12 civilians) and four members of Israeli forces.
Over 60 people, including 37 children, were displaced in a Bedouin Community near Bethlehem after the Israeli authorities demolished their residences.
Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip remain as high as 12 hours per day with the entry of limited fuel shipments, disrupting delivery of basic services and daily life in Gaza.
Dozens of injuries in weekly protests; settlers carry out a “price tag” attack against a mosque
The majority of this week’s Palestinian injuries (43) were sustained during a weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) against the prohibition on the use of the main road connecting the village to Nablus City, and to agricultural land in the vicinity of the nearby Qedumim settlement. Five international activists were injured by Israeli forces during the protest. Also, five Palestinians were injured in two weekly demonstrations held against the expansion of Hallamish settlement on Nabi Saleh village’s land, and the construction of the Barrier on Bi’lin village’s land, both in the Ramallah governorate.
Israeli settler attacks continued during the week. Israeli settlers set fire to a mosque in Jaba’ village (Jerusalem) and sprayed “price tag” graffiti on its walls, causing some damage to the mosque’s walls and carpet. This incident, which has the potential to trigger further violence, comes in the context of the so-called ‘price tag’ strategy, by which settlers attack Palestinian property, and in some cases also Israeli military facilities, in an attempt to deter the Israeli authorities from removing unauthorized settlement outposts. A total of 12 mosques have been vandalized by settlers since 2011. While the Israeli authorities indicated that they have opened an investigation into this week’s attack, according to Israeli media reports none of the previous incidents have resulted in the prosecution of suspects.
Also this week, an Israeli settler threw a stone at a Palestinian in Huwwara village (Nablus), injuring him. Reports from the same village also indicate that settlers set 50 dunums of land on fire, damaging 250 olive and almond trees. Additionally, settlers threw stones and rubbish in a cistern belonging to At Tuwani village in Hebron.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed in 2012: 3
Injured this week: 48; 47 in demonstrations
Injured in 2012: 1,529
2012 weekly average of injured: 65
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search and arrest operations by Israeli forces this week: 84
Two Palestinians killed in South Hebron
On 17 June, an Israeli truck driver from southern Israel shot and killed two Palestinians (aged 32 and 35), south of As Samu village in the Hebron governorate; the driver was reportedly injured during the incident. According to the Israeli media, this event took place in the context of a confrontation between the Palestinians killed and the driver, when the Palestinian attempted to steal the truck. The Israeli and Palestinian authorities indicate that the incident was criminal in nature.
Over 60 people displaced in a Bedouin community near Bethlehem
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished 14 residences and nine animal shacks, two storage rooms and two latrines in a Bedouin community in Al Hirma area, near the Area C village of Obeidiya (Bethlehem), due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. Consequently, 64 people, including 37 children, were displaced and the livelihoods of nine families were affected.
In addition, a house and two animal shelters were demolished by their owners in the Area C sections of Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Beit Iksa (Jerusalem) respectively, after receiving demolition orders from the Israeli authorities. Since the beginning of 2012, seven structures (of which five were in East Jerusalem) have been demolished in the same context.
In the Jordan Valley community of Ad Dawa, near ‘Aqraba (Nablus), Israeli forces forcibly evicted six herders from their seasonal structures located in an area closed by the Israeli military for training, or “firing zone”. In the same area, 20 other farmers from ‘Aqraba, owners of 200 dunums of land planted with around 2000 fruit trees, were also prevented from cultivating their land on the same grounds. Two weeks previously, 32 Bedouin families in the northern Jordan Valley were ordered to leave their residential area to enable Israeli forces to conduct military training. Also this week, Israeli forces requisitioned five water tanks and five mobile latrines used by herders and farmers from the communities of Humsa and Khirbet Ar Ras Al Ahmar, respectively, on the grounds that they are present in a closed military area.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 4
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 1
Injured in 2012: 64
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 19
Injured in 2011: 37
Since the beginning of its occupation, Israel has declared around 18 percent of the West Bank as a closed area for military training. Palestinian presence in these areas is formally prohibited without the permission of the Israeli authorities. These declarations have had a significant humanitarian impact on Palestinian civilians and dramatically reduced the amount of land available to Palestinians for residential or community development.
Also this week, Israeli forces issued stop work orders against a sewage treatment plant in Hajja community in the Qalqiliya governorate and ten residential structures in the Hebron governorate, due to the lack of building permit.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 357
Of which residences: 114
People displaced in 2012: 600
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 14 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 24 vs. 21
A new wave of violence; three Palestinian civilians killed and 12 others injured
This week, there was a significant escalation in violence, resulting in casualties, including the first civilian fatalities since 30 March this year, and damage to property in Gaza and southern Israel. This wave of violence, which was still ongoing at the end of the reporting period, follows three months of relative calm.
The escalation began on 17 June with the firing of projectiles towards southern Israel by Palestinian armed factions, and the launching of two airstrikes by the Israeli air force. The latter targeted a metal workshop in Rafah city and a military training base in Gaza City. As a result, five Palestinian civilians were injured and a number of houses, as well as two workshops, sustained damage. No injuries or damage to property was recorded as a result of the firing of projectiles by Palestinian armed groups. Two farmers were also injured by Israeli troops near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip during an Israeli incursion into Gaza.
The next day, two separate Israeli air strikes targeted armed Palestinians in areas located some 1 -1.5 kilometeres from the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, in the Beit Hanoun area, killing four of them and injuring another one. Two other air strikes were launched on 19 June in the middle area and the Az Zeitoun area (in Gaza City), injuring three Palestinian men, including one civilian.
The same day, Palestinian factions intensified rocket firing, hitting open areas inside Ashkelon City (southern Israel) and injuring four Israeli border policemen. Also. in two incidents on 18 and 19 June, an 18-month-old Palestinian baby was killed and four other children (aged between 3 and 12) were injured when Palestinian rockets fell short inside Gaza and hit two houses in the Beit Hanoun and Az Zeitoun areas.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 7
Killed in 2012: 39
Injured this week: 14
Injured in 2012: 192
2012 weekly average of injured: 8
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Also on 19 June, Israeli forces patrolling the fence opened fire on three civilian men, killing two and injuring another one. The men were reportedly attempting to infiltrate into Israel.
One killed and another injured in a tunnel-related incident
On 13 June, a Palestinian worker died while working inside a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border when a gravel crate fell on his head, bringing the total number of workers killed in tunnel-related incidents since the beginning of the year to seven. Another worker was injured in the same incident. Tunnels remain a significant source for the transfer of certain goods, including construction materials, which are restricted through the official crossings with Israel, as well as fuel, which is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.
Shortages of power and fuel continue to disrupt daily life inside Gaza
This week, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continued to produce only 30 megawatts (MW) of electricity per day, triggering daily power cuts of up to 12 hours per day throughout the Gaza Strip, due to the limited supply of fuel. Between 10-16 June, approximately 1.6 million liters of industrial fuel, including over 960,000 liters supplied by the Qatari government, entered Gaza, an amount which is still below needs. The GPP was forced to shut down completely on five occasions in the past two months, as a result of the lack of fuel. Power outages continue to have severe humanitarian consequences on Palestinian households, disrupting the daily life of 1.6 million Gazans as well as the delivery of public services, including hospitals and water and wastewater treatment plants.
According to the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA), the amounts of fuel supplied this week through the tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border is estimated at less than 30 percent of the amount (800,000 – one million liters of diesel and benzene) that entered regularly each day prior to the onset of the fuel crisis in December 2011. Consequently, almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip are partially functioning, with reports of long queues at the stations.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,213