Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip remain as high as 12 hours per day, disrupting the delivery of basic services and daily life in Gaza.
Over 50 refugees displaced by demolitions in a Bedouin community in the Jerusalem area; humanitarian relief supplies provided as an emergency response subsequently confiscated by the Israeli authorities.
Dozens of Palestinian injuries in weekly demonstrations; settler activities in Palestinian areas result in heightened tension
The majority of this week’s Palestinian injuries occurred in clashes with Israeli forces during weekly demonstrations. The 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 Qedumim settlement (22); against the expansion of Hallamish settlement in Ramallah (3); and against access restrictions near Karmei Tzur settlement in Hebron (1).
In addition, a 17-year-old boy was injured in clashes during a demonstration at the Israeli Ofer Prison (Ramallah). The demonstration was held in solidarity with the over one thousand Palestinian prisoners carrying out an open-ended hunger strike protesting the practice of administrative detention (imprisonment without charges or trial) by the Israeli authorities. Two of the prisoners, Thaer Halahleh and Bilal Diyab, have been on hunger strike for approximately 60 days.
A 2.5-year-old child was also injured after inhaling tear gas during clashes between Israeli forces and the residents of Fahma village in the Jenin governorate during a search-and-arrest operation. In addition, in one incident, masked settlers entered ‘Urif village (Nablus) and stoned the Secondary Boys’ School. The residents of the village chased after the settlers, at which point Israeli forces intervened and fired tear gas canisters near a school, injuring eight students (all aged 16 years).
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 3
Killed in 2011: 11
Injured this week: 36; 27 in weekly demonstrations
Of whom were children: 10
Injured in 2012: 691
2012 weekly average of injured: 42
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations this week: 77
Also this week, a 17-year-old Palestinian boy was injured with a live bullet while he was grazing his sheep in Al Maleh area (Jordan Valley) in a closed military zone. According to Palestinian sources, the bullet came from Israeli military forces training in the area.
Three more Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured during the week in the context of settler attacks in the Hebron governorate, including a 13-year-old child near Susiya community and two herders near Shimá settlement. Also this week, an Israeli settler was stabbed and injured by Palestinians in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood in East Jerusalem (see next section on settlement activities in East Jerusalem).
Incidents of tension and violence were reported this week in the context of the entry of armed settlers into Palestinian localities to visit Jewish religious sites. In one incident, thousands of settlers entered Kifl Haris village (Salfit) under the protection of Israeli forces; during the event, settlers reportedly threw stones at houses, but no property damage or clashes were reported. In another incident, settlers entered Nablus City to pray at Joseph’s Tomb, triggering clashes with the residents of the city; no injuries were reported.
Settlers take over two houses in East Jerusalem
On 18 April, two Palestinian refugee families (comprising 13 people) were forcibly evicted by the Israeli authorities from their houses in Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem), following a court case brought by an Israeli citizen, supported by a settler association, claiming ownership over the property. The houses were subsequently handed over to settlers. The families are currently seeking assistance on filing a legal case in an attempt to challenge the settlers’ claims of ownership of the property and the construction of a settlement in the area.
Over 50 people displaced by demolitions in a Bedouin community
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished 26 Palestinian-owned structures due to the lack of an Israeli-issued building permit.
On 18 April, nine residential structures, six animal structures, and six kitchen facilities were demolished in Al Khalayleh Bedouin community, located in Area C in the Jerusalem area. Eight Palestinian refugee families consisting of 54 people, including 34 children, were displaced.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 4
2012 weekly average: 5
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 42
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 1
Injured in 2012: 14
The next day, the Israeli authorities dismantled and confiscated six tents provided by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) to house the displaced families. In a similar context last month, Israeli forces confiscated six tents provided for 15 families in Khirbet ar-Rahawa in the Hebron area through the UN Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF), after their homes were demolished in February. Israeli forces claimed that the transfer and/or use of the humanitarian goods in question would constitute a violation of law or military orders. While the truck delivering the tents was released this week, the tents remain impounded. In the Hebron governorate, the Israeli authorities demolished four water cisterns in the localities of Halhul, Quzoon, and Al Buweira. The cisterns are the only source of water for irrigating around 30
dunums of land, which provide livelihood for more than 100 people. This brings the total number of water cisterns demolished since the beginning of the year to 15, 13 of which have been demolished in regions affected by high water scarcity in the Hebron governorate.
Also this week, Israeli forces demolished two road segments (both 2.5 km-long) rehabilitated by the Palestinian Authority, linking the village of Al ‘Aqaba (Tubas) to the Jordan Valley villages, due to a lack of building permits. These demolitions affect access for 300 people using the roads, including 60 students attending schools in Al ‘Aqaba. Such actions cause an increase of both transportation prices and the duration of travel between the affected areas.
In addition, Israeli forces bulldozed less than a dunum of land belonging to Qalandiya village (Jerusalem), vandalizing around 40 trees in the process, allegedly for the construction of the Barrier. Also, Israeli forces cut down over 20 olive trees belonging to ‘Izbet Shufa village (Tulkarm), claiming that the land is “state land”.
The Israeli authorities also issued at least 29 demolition orders mainly against residences in East Jerusalem and Tubas and Hebron governorates.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 251
People displaced in 2012: 472
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 15 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 29 vs. 21
Access restrictions continue to undermine security and livelihoods
The situation in Gaza has remained calm, with no reports of Israeli air strikes for the second consecutive week. Yet Palestinian armed factions fired a number of projectiles towards southern Israel, resulting in no injuries or property damages.
Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1-1.5 km from the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip and to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore continue. In one incident, Israeli forces opened warning fire towards Palestinian farmers working their land some 800 meters from the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, injuring one female farmer. On three occasions during the week, Israeli forces penetrated approximately 400 meters inside the Gaza Strip, and withdrew after conducting land leveling operations. Also, the Israeli Navy intercepted and searched a Palestinian fishing boat and reportedly took two fishermen for interrogation inside Israel. The fishermen were later released without their boat.
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 of up to 12 hours per day continue to disrupt vital services
The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continues to partially operate two of its four turbines, producing only 35 megawatts (MW). As a result, the population throughout the Gaza Strip continues to experience power cuts of up to 12 hours per day on average. 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 report that the current fuel reserves are about 18 per cent of the full capacity, an amount sufficient to run the standby mobile generators for two weeks only. Also, according to the Gas Stations Owners Association, 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):
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,028
TL carrying food: 43%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of 2012: 958
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 2
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 9
Weekly average before the blockade: 240