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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
22 November 2014

Key issues
One Palestinian killed in clashes with Israeli forces; decline in Palestinian injuries.
A Palestinian man found hanged in West Jerusalem in disputed circumstances.
Two families in Jerusalem receive punitive orders.
Two Palestinians injured by detonation of unexploded ordnance.
Accidental explosion of fuel infrastructure kills two and temporarily halts fuel delivery to Gaza Power Plant.
Five trucks of specific commercial goods allowed entry to West Bank from Gaza.
Rafah Crossing remains closed with over 3,500 Palestinians stranded in Egypt.


One Palestinian killed in clashes with Israeli forces; decline in Palestinian injuries

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian and injured another 212, including 38 children, in various incidents and clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The number of Palestinian injuries represents a decline compared to the previous reporting period (356 injuries), however is 47% above the weekly average since the beginning of 2014.

The majority of Palestinian casualties (208) took place during protests and clashes in the context of ongoing Palestinian concerns over potential changes in the access arrangements to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound. Some demonstrations were also held in commemoration of the 10th anniversary of the death of former Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, and the 26th anniversary of Palestinian Independence Day.

An additional major trigger of clashes was the discovery of a 32 year old Palestinian bus driver hanged to death in his bus in West Jerusalem on 16 November. The man was an employee of the Israeli public transportation company “Egged”. According to Israeli media reports, an autopsy carried out in the Israeli forensic institute concluded, in the presence of a Palestinian doctor, that the man committed suicide. According to Palestinian media, a medical expert speaking on condition of anonymity stated that preliminary tests suggest he was a victim of “an organized murder”. Around 72 Palestinians were injured in clashes following this incident most notably in Abu Dis and Ar Ram (Jerusalem).

In one of the clashes that took place in Al Arrub refugee camp, north of Hebron on 11 November, Israeli forces shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian man. According to Palestinian eyewitnesses the man was looking out of the window of his apartment located on the second floor, at least 500 meters away from the clashes when he was shot by a sniper. This brings the total number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank so far this year to 47,

compared to 27 in the entire 2013. The level of tensions in East Jerusalem remained as high as in previous weeks, with clashes between Palestinian youths and the Israeli Police recorded on a daily basis in multiple areas of the city, particularly in the Old City, Shu’fat Refugee Camp, Qalandiya checkpoint, and in the neighborhoods of Shu’fat, At Tur, and Al ‘Isawiya. Overall 36 Palestinians were injured in these incidents accounting for 17 per cent of all West Bank injuries during the week.

The largest clashes in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem were in Jerusalem (139), Qalqiliya (12 injuries), and Hebron (12 injuries). Overall, of this week’s injuries, 19 were by live ammunition, 82 by rubber bullets, at least 35 due to tear gas inhalation and two due to physical assault. Of note, unlike in the rest of the West Bank, there have been no reports of use of live ammunition by police forces in East Jerusalem for crowd control purposes.

At least three of this week’s clashes directly affected school facilities. On 11 November, Israeli forces forcibly entered Tuqu’ Boys school (Bethlehem) following a march held by students, commemorating the aforementioned anniversaries, which involved stone throwing at Israeli forces. While the incident resulted in no casualties, damage to the main doors and some windows of the school was reported. On two occasions in Al Lubban ash Sharqiya (Nablus) students threw stones towards Israeli forces positioned near the school gate, who responded by firing tear gas canisters. In another incident in Deir al Hatab (Nablus), school students were pursued by the settlement guard of Elon Moreh settlement and subsequently clashed with Israeli forces that arrived at the scene.

Rise in settler attacks; a mosque set on fire

Eleven incidents of settler violence were recorded this week, including four resulting in injury to four Palestinians, marking a rise in the number of settler attacks over the past four weeks, and bringing the total number of incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property in 2014 to 293. This is nevertheless a reduction compared to 382 in the equivalent period of 2013.

During the week, five Palestinians were physically assaulted by Israeli settlers in separate incidents. These include a 14-year-old child in the H2 area of Hebron city, who was subsequently arrested by Israeli forces; a young man assaulted while at work and subsequently transferred to the hospital for medical treatment near Beit Safafa in East Jerusalem; a young man assaulted by five settlers near the Hizma checkpoint; and (not included in the count) a young man assaulted while at work and subsequently hospitalized, in West Jerusalem.

In one incident on 14 November, two Palestinian men were physically assaulted and subsequently received medical attention, when a group of around 200 Israeli settlers from the Hallamish settlement, many of whom were armed, entered Deir Nidham village (Ramallah), hurled stones towards Palestinian homes and physically assaulted Palestinians. Upon their arrival, Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians who began throwing stones. Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters and rubber bullets towards the Palestinians, injuring two Palestinians, including one who was shot in his back along with several others who suffered gas inhalation. Deir Nidham is one of the villages affected by the expansion of the Israeli settlement of Hallamish on the village’s land.

Another seven incidents resulted in damage to Palestinian property. One of the incidents, on 12 November, involved damage to trees and an attempt to set crops on fire by a group of settlers who toured and performed religious rituals near Nahhalin village (Bethlehem). In another incident, Israeli settlers entered and damaged property in two Palestinian factories in Huwwara village (Nablus) on 11 November.

Of particular concern, on 12 November, a mosque in the village of Al Mughayyir (Ramallah) was set on fire, causing extensive damage to the mosque. The village council attributes the arson to Israeli settlers, who in recent years have been involved in systematic violence and harassment of the village’s residents. There have been two previous incidents of vandalism by settlers affecting mosques so far this year, and the second recorded in Al Mughayyir since June 2011.

Additionally, three incidents involving stone throwing by Israeli settlers towards Palestinian vehicles were recorded near Nahal Negohot settlement (Hebron), on Road 60 near Silwad village and near Nehali’el settlement (Ramallah) as well as towards homes in Beitillu (Ramallah) causing damage to the house.

Palestinian attacks against settlers and other Israelis continue

During the week, according to Israeli media, 12 incidents of Palestinian violence against settlers and other Israeli groups were recorded, of which four resulted in injury and eight in damage to property. On 16 November, an Israeli man was stabbed in the back and injured after by a Palestinian near the Old City of East Jerusalem. Israeli forces carried out a search and arrest operation in the area and arrested two Palestinians.

Also this week, according to Israeli media sources, there were at least 11 incidents involving stone throwing by Palestinians towards vehicles of settlers and other Israeli groups traveling in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem and resulting in injury to three settlers and damage to 11 vehicles.

Additionally, in one incident on 13 November Palestinians hurled paint balls at a bus causing damage. In two incidents, two settlers dismounted their vehicles and opened fire in the direction of the stone-throwers; however, no injuries were reported.

Two families in East Jerusalem receive punitive orders

No demolitions were recorded this week in Area C or East Jerusalem compared to 28 recorded the previous week and 543 since the beginning of the year.

However, the Israeli authorities delivered two punitive demolition and sealing orders against houses in East Jerusalem, citing security and deterrence needs. One of the orders targeted the family home of the Palestinian from Jabal Al Mukabbir neighborhood in East Jerusalem, who was killed after he attacked a bus on 4 August with a mechanical digger in West Jerusalem, killing one Israeli and injuring five others. The demolition order gave 48 hours notice to the family to evacuate their apartment. Another sealing order was delivered against the family home of the 20-year-old Palestinian from Silwan who ran his car into a station of the light train on Road 1 in East Jerusalem ramming into passengers dismounting the train, killing an infant and women and injuring several others. The driver was shot and injured by the Israeli police and shortly died of his wounds.

The practice of punitive demolitions was largely discontinued since 2005, following the recommendations of a military commission which found it ineffective. This practice resumed on 2 July 2014 leading to the demolition or sealing of four homes.

The Israeli authorities issued eight stop work orders and one demolition order for lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C, against three houses in Al Khadr (Bethlehem), in addition to five houses including four under construction and a commercial structure in the villages of Al Funduq and Jinsafut (Qalqiliya) which were delivered during the previous reporting period.

In Tubas, the community of Khirbet Ras al Ahmar was affected as a result of military training conducted by Israeli forces. Nine families (51 people including 20 children) dismantled their residential tents and structures and moved them to a different location following verbal orders by the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA). According to the families, the ICA informed them that the training will take place on a weekly basis during the coming six months.

Three Palestinians injured in the access restricted areas

The ceasefire agreement reached between Israel and Palestinian armed groups on 26 August continues to largely hold. However, three Palestinians civilians were injured this week by Israeli forces in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and sea. On 14 November, Israeli forces shot and injured two Palestinian civilians east of Jabalia, who together with others, were reportedly having a picnic approximately 200 meters from Gaza’s perimeter fence. In another incident on 16 November, Israeli troops shot and injured a Palestinian 15-year-old mentally challenged child while approaching the fence east of Al Buraij camp.

In other incidents near Gaza’s perimeter fence, Israeli forces arrested six unarmed Palestinians, reportedly during an attempt to infiltrate Israel in search of jobs. According to media reports, three who managed to cross to the Israeli side were detained in Kibbutz Kfar Aza and Be’eri east of the fence.

In the ARA at sea, at least eight incidents of Israeli naval forces opening fire at fishermen approaching or exceeding the 6 nautical miles fishing limit, were recorded. While no injuries were reported, the firing resulted in damage to at least one boat and other fishing equipment.

n a separate incident on 17 November, Egyptian coastal guards opened fire towards Palestinian boats near the marine line between Gaza and Egypt west of Rafah, resulting in no injuries but forcing them northwards.

Access restrictions to fishing areas beyond 6 nautical miles from the coast and to farming land approximately 300 meters from Gaza’s perimeter fence continue to undermine the fishery and agricultural sector in Gaza, which is the primary source of income for thousands of fisherman and farmers and their families.

Two Palestinians injured by the explosion of unexploded ordnance (UXO)

On 12 November, two Palestinian men were injured when unexploded ordnance (UXO) detonated amongst a group of people attempting to remove the rubble of their buildings, destroyed during the last hostilities in Khuza’a area, east of Khan Younis. The presence of UXO and explosive remnants of war (ERW) which increased in number following the July-August hostilities, continues to pose a high risk to civilians, particularly children. Since the ceasefire on 26 August, five Palestinians have been killed in UXO incidents, and six others injured. According to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), children, rubble-removal workers, scrap collectors, construction workers, IDPs returning to their damaged homes and farmers working and/or living in the access restricted areas have been identified as the most exposed groups to UXO hazards.

Explosion of a fuel infrastructure kills two and temporarily halts transfers; Gaza power plant resumes operations slightly reducing outages

On 11 November, an accidental explosion of a fuel tanker at the Palestinian side of the Kerem Shalom Crossing took place, killing two Palestinian workers, including one who died on 13 November of his wounds, and injuring another. The explosion also resulted in the temporary suspension of all fuel deliveries to Gaza.

The infrastructure was repaired on 14 November allowing the resumption of fuel delivery to Gaza, and according to the Palestinian Energy and Natural Resource Authority (PENRA), the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) operated on 16 November following the receipt of 458,000 liters of fuel, and is currently producing around 60 AMW of energy reducing the scheduled power outages to 12 hours per day on average according to GEDCO.

Prior to the disruption of fuel delivery caused by the aforementioned incident, 350,000 liters of Qatari-funded fuel were successfully delivered to Gaza. The fuel enabled the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) to partially operate on 11 November, generating up to 30MWs during that week, reducing the scheduled power outages from 18 to 16 hours per day on average.

In addition to the 60 MWs currently generated by the GPP, 120 MWs of power are purchased from Israel and around 30MWs from Egypt respectively. However, the total power combined (210MWs) is less than half than the estimated power demand in Gaza (470MWs). The energy and fuel crisis continues to adversely impact the routine provision of basic services in Gaza, including health, water, waste water and solid waste.

Five trucks of specific commercial goods allowed to exit to the West Bank

For the second consecutive week, Israel permitted the exit of goods from Gaza to the West Bank for commercial purposes, but not to Israeli markets. On 11 and 13 November, five trucks containing 8 tons of cucumbers and several tons of dates were transferred to the West Bank. A similar delivery consisting of two trucks of cucumbers and fish took place the previous week. Since imposition of the blockade in June 2007, Israel has banned almost completely the exit of goods from Gaza to the West Bank and Israel, which are the main markets for Gazan products. According to Israeli media, in mid October Israel announced plans to allow specific produce from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to support Gaza’s economic situation. According to the Palestinian crossing coordination committee, while they were informed that the list of goods would include agricultural produce, fish, furniture, and clothes, a detailed operational framework for the transfer of goods was not communicated.

So far in 2014, only 88 truckloads of selected agricultural produce were allowed to exit Gaza, the vast majority for export to international markets, compared to 5,007 truckloads of a wider range of goods delivered to the West Bank, and to international markets, including in Israel, in the first half of 2007 when export of goods from Gaza was permitted. As such, local producers and exporters are concerned that transfers of agricultural products which yield low profit margins will not be economically viable unless larger quantities can be transferred.

Rafah Crossing remained closed; over 3,500 Palestinians stranded in Egypt

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza continues to be closed by the Egyptian Authorities, despite several appeals from human rights organization and Palestinian political parties to re-open it. The Egyptian Authorities have closed the crossing on 24 October until further notice following attacks in the northern Egyptian City of Al Arish, reportedly carried out by radical groups based in Sinai Peninsula, claiming the lives of 30 Egyptian military personnel.

Meanwhile Palestinians, including students, and patients who left Gaza for medical treatment in Egypt or other countries are unable to return. On 13 November, the Palestinian embassy in Cairo requested all Palestinians stranded in Egypt and around the world to send their details and register their names with the embassy, in order to organize their return to Gaza once the crossing is open. According to initial reports between 3,500 to 4,000 people registered. Additionally, according to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, several thousands of people in Gaza, including patients seeking medical care and students, are registered and waiting to cross to Egypt and other destinations via Egypt.

Since July 2014 up until 24 October, the Rafah crossing was opened and operated on most days, despite significant restrictions on the number of passengers allowed to cross with an average of 13,000 people crossing between July through September. During the first six months in 2014, the crossing was closed for 22 days with 6,400 people crossing on average per month.

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