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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
24 June 2013

Key issues

Violent clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces continued in the West Bank; the number of resulting injuries remains relatively low compared to previous months. .

Firing of rockets at Israel by Palestinian armed groups and Israeli airstrikes in Gaza resumed, but no casualties reported. Kerem Shalom was closed for two days and movement across Erez for Palestinians was limited to humanitarian cases only.

The de facto authorities in the Gaza Strip executed two Palestinian civilians after convicting them of “collaborating with Israel”.


Over 30 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces

A number of violent clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces were recorded during the week. However, the number of Palestinians injuries during those clashes remained relatively low - less than a quarter of the weekly average during the previous five months.

Fifteen of this week’s injuries occurred in Beit Ummar village in the Hebron governorate, including during two protests held in solidarity with prisoners in Israeli jails and during an IDF search-and-arrest operation. A further ten injuries were recorded in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) during the weekly demonstration against the longstanding closure of one of the village’s main entrances. Five other civilians and an Israeli soldier were injured in separate clashes that took place after Palestinian youth threw stones at Israeli forces in the Ar Ram town (Jerusalem), at the Beituniya checkpoint (Ramallah), at the entrance of ‘Azzun (Qalqiliya), and in the Old City of Jerusalem.

In an incident on 21 June, in the Old City of Jerusalem, an Israeli private security guard shot and killed an Israeli man, aged 46. According to media reports, the guard opened fire believing that the victim was a Palestinian intending to attack Israelis praying at the “Western Wall”. The guard was arrested and the Israeli police have opened an investigation.

Decline in settler-related incidents

During the reporting period, OCHA recorded three Israeli settler attacks resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property, a decline compared to the weekly average of such attacks so far in 2013. No Palestinian attacks against Israeli settlers were reported this week.

In one incident on 24 June near Karmel settlement (Hebron) Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured two Palestinian herders, including a 17 year-old youth. Two other settler violence incidents in Beit Hanina (East Jerusalem) and in Al Jalazoun refugee camp (Ramallah) resulted in damage to 24 Palestinian owned vehicles. In the course of the former, settlers painted graffiti indicating that this is a “price tag” attack – a tactic adopted in recent years by some settler groups, reportedly aimed at deterring the Israeli authorities from taking measures perceived to be contrary to the interests of the settler movement.

On 17 June (not reported in the previous reporting period) Israeli settlers set fire to a water container and an electricity panel used by workers who are implementing a project in ‘Asira al Qibliya village (Nablus) funded by USAID. The project aims to facilitate provision of water to the villages of ‘Asira al Qibliya, Madama and ‘Urif.

Twelve residences and six livelihood structures demolished

During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished 17 Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank due to the lack of building permits and one additional structure was demolished by its owner in East Jerusalem after receiving a demolition order. Overall, 35 people, including 15 children, were displaced as a result, and around 40 other people were otherwise affected.

Eleven of the structures demolished by the Israeli authorities were located in An Nuwei’ma village in the Jordan Valley, including eight residential structures (four of which were uninhabited), two portable latrines and an animal shed. The five displaced families also reported losing some of their belongings in the demolition. Two other uninhabited residential sheds and two animal shelters were demolished and a water tank was confiscated in As Simiya community in South Hebron. Another house and an animal shed was demolished in the Barta’a Asharqiya village (Jenin), located in the closed area behind the Barrier, displacing one family.

Also on 6 June, the Israeli authorities verbally informed a Bedouin community (28 people) located next to Bir Nabala village (Jerusalem), in an area between the Green Line and the Barrier, that unless they evacuate the area (no specific date was indicated) their structures will be demolished.

A house demolished by its owners in East Jerusalem

This week, no demolitions were carried out by the Israeli authorities for the first time in over two months. However, a Palestinian family was forced to demolish its own house in the Old City of East Jerusalem after receiving a demolition order from the Israeli authorities to avoid paying fines. As a result, seven people, including three children, were displaced. In addition in one incident on 18 June, Israeli forces confiscated a mobile latrine in Um al Kher community near Yatta, on the grounds that it lacks a building permit.


No casualties despite resumption of rocket firing and air strikes

Between 19 and 24 June, armed Palestinian groups fired a number of projectiles towards southern Israel, with most falling inside Gaza; no casualties or damage was reported. In response to the rocket firing, Israeli air forces launched air strikes on two military training sites in Khan Younis and Rafah, and on an open area in Deir Al Balah on 24 June. The strikes resulted in damage to a number of nearby houses, and a network that feeds electricity for 400 houses.

The Israeli authorities continued enforcing restrictions on Palestinian access along the perimeter fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel and beyond 6 nautical miles (NM) from the Gaza shore. On two occasions this week, Israeli forces fired warning shots near farmers working in the area, as well as near Palestinians who reportedly attempted to cross the fence illegally into Israel; no injuries were reported. One land leveling operation was also recorded during the week. In at least one incident, Israeli naval forces opened fire at fishermen who were reportedly sailing near the 6 NM limit from the shore, forcing them to leave the area.

Decline in fuel and construction materials via tunnels

The Egyptian forces have continued their action to stop tunnel activities under the Gaza-Egypt border. As a result there has been a sharp decline in the amounts of fuel and construction materials available to the Gaza markets.

On average this week, approximately 300,000 liters of fuel (including petrol and diesel) were transferred via tunnels per day, or around 30 per cent of the amounts of fuel that entered over the past weeks. This decline has been reflected in long queues of vehicles at petrol stations across the Gaza Strip. However, the Gaza Power Plant continues operating at two-thirds of its full capacity (120 megawatts).

Also, the Palestinian Federation of Industries indicated that the volume of construction materials entering through the tunnels declined to less than 2,000 tonnes a day during the week, compared to over 7,000 tonnes which entered each day through the tunnels in past weeks. As a result, the prices of cement, aggregates and steel bars have remained higher than in previous periods.

Gaza authorities execute two Palestinian men

On 22 June, the Gaza authorities executed two men aged 43 and 49 years, who were sentenced to death in early 2013 after being convicted of “collaboration with Israel”. These are the first executions that have been carried out in Gaza since the beginning of the year. In addition, on 20 June, a military court in Gaza sentenced a civilian man to death by hanging, on similar grounds, the fifth death penalty that has been issued since the beginning of 2013.

The trial of civilians in military courts is prima facie inconsistent with international human rights standards, in particular with regard to procedural guarantees pertaining to a fair trial. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, of the 110 death sentences issued in Gaza since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, 29 have been implemented (16 without the required Palestinian presidential ratification).

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