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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
25 October 2011



    UNITED NATIONS
    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    occupied Palestinian territory



PROTECTION OF CIVILIANS WEEKLY REPORT

التقرير الأسبوعي لحماية المدنيين

19 - 25 OCTOBER 2011


Key issues

Demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank resumed after a two-week lull, targeting a Bedouin community in the Jerusalem periphery. The Israeli authorities intend to begin transferring 20 Bedouin communities in this area as of the beginning of 2012.
Settler-related violence in the context of olive harvesting continued, leaving two Palestinian injuries and over 120 Palestinian-owned olive trees damaged.

For the first time in recent months, Palestinian armed factions fired Grad rockets towards southern Israel. In response, the Israeli Air Force launched air strikes targeting a number of locations inside the Gaza Strip. No casualties were reported in both attacks.

West Bank

Sporadic clashes between
Israeli forces and Palestinians continue

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians throughout the West Bank, including in East Jerusalem, resulted this week in 21 Palestinian injuries. Ten of the injuries were sustained in a weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya governorate) against the closure of the village’s main entrance, leading to the Qeddumim settlement. Another four Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces, who intervened in a confrontation between Palestinians, together with international and Israeli activists, and Israeli settlers next to Esh Kodesh settlement outpost (Nablus governorate). Also this week, a four-year-old Palestinian girl from the Bedouin community of ‘Anata village (Jerusalem governorate) was injured in the neck by live ammunition. Circumstances of the incident and identity of the perpetrator are still unclear.

In addition, clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian villagers from the ‘seam zone’ community of Dhaher al Malih (Jenin governorate) at a Barrier checkpoint resulted in four Palestinian injuries. The clashes started after a group of villagers, who were participating in a funeral procession towards a cemetery on the ‘Palestinian’ side of the Barrier, were temporarily denied access through the checkpoint. Overall this week, Israeli forces conducted over 50 search-and-arrest operations in West Bank cities and villages, around 60 per cent of the weekly average for such operations since the beginning of the year.




Also this week, an Israeli Border Policeman was injured when Israeli police and Palestinians clashed during a protest next to Ofer prison (Ramallah governorate) in support of the Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. The protest followed last week’s release by the Israeli authorities of 477 Palestinian prisoners in exchange for the IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas since June 2006.

Settler-related violence continues; four Palestinians
and one settler injured and over 120 trees damaged
This week, OCHA documented seven settler-related incidents that led to the injury of four Palestinians and damage to over 120 olive trees. This week’s figure, however, is less than half the number of settler-related incidents that occurred in recent weeks (16). A settler was also injured.

Four of this week’s incidents took place in the context of the olive harvest, resulting in two Palestinian injuries and damage to over 120 olive trees. In one incident in the Nablus governorate, Israeli settlers from Esh Kodesh settlement outpost physically assaulted Palestinian farmers and international and Israeli activists picking olives near the outpost, injuring five of them (two Palestinians and three Israeli activists), and they set fire to 40 olive trees. The incident occurred on Palestinian-owned land
located in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, during times which had been coordinated in advance by the Israeli authorities to allow farmers to access their land and harvest their olives. In three separate incidents in Beitillu village (Ramallah governorate), settlers set fire or cut down 85 olive trees and damaged two vehicles belonging to farmers harvesting olives. Also, settlers attempted to disrupt access for famers on a number of occasions.

A Palestinian was also injured by a stone thrown by settlers while he was driving on the main road next to Atarot settlement industrial area (East Jerusalem); and another injured in the face when settlers threw an unknown liquid while he was walking in Huwwara village (Nablus). This week also, a settler was stabbed and injured in Ramot settlement (East Jerusalem). An initial police investigation indicated that the attacker was a Palestinian from the nearby Beit Iksa village.




Demolitions resumed
Demolition of Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits resumed this week after a twoweek lull. Overall, the Israeli authorities demolished ten structures in three different locations of the Jerusalem governorate.

Among the structures demolished were two residential tents, four animal shelters and a room in the Jaba’ Bedouin community, displacing nine people, including five children. The Israeli authorities also demolished a chicken pen (470 square-meters), a small building and a wall, and confiscated six beehives in ‘Anata village, affecting
the livelihoods of 33 people. Also, a car workshop was demolished in Hizma village.

A Palestinian also demolished an extension to his house, which is under construction, in Wadi al Joz in East Jerusalem, after receiving a number of demolition orders and a fine of 50,000 NIS.

The Israeli authorities issued demolition orders against six residential structures, a recently rehabilitated road, an animal structure, and an agricultural pond, located in the Jerusalem and Bethlehem governorates.


Gaza Strip

Calm in Gaza continues
The Gaza Strip witnessed another calm week, during which there were no reports of casualties, Israeli air strikes or incursions inside the Gaza Strip, or rocket firing by Palestinian armed factions towards southern Israel.

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, and fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore continue to hinder the livelihoods of thousands of people. In two separate incidents, Israeli forces opened warning fire towards farmers and workers collecting scrap metal, resulting in no injuries. No incidents affecting fishermen were reported.

Tunnels continue to claim
lives; one killed
On 24 October, a Palestinian worker was killed when a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border collapsed. Since the beginning of 2011, 33 Palestinians have been killed and 50 others injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses and electrocution. While tunnel activity has declined since the Israeli decision to ease the blockade on 20 June 2010, it remains a main source for the transfer of goods and construction materials that are still restricted through the official crossings with Israel, as well as fuel that is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.



Movement through Rafah
Crossing
During the reporting period, around 3,100 people left Gaza through the Rafah Crossing controlled by Egypt, and 3,350 others entered Gaza. While constituting an increase compared to recent weeks, the number of people who crossed this week remains below the average number of people who crossed per week in the first five months of 2006, before the partial closure of the crossing, when an average of 650 people crossed daily each way. Also this week, a total of 143 people were denied
entry to Egypt for unspecified reasons. Despite the overall increase in the volume of people leaving Gaza through Rafah, due to the backlog generated due the restricted access, there are still thousands of travelers registered with the Border and Crossing authorities in Gaza waiting to exit in the coming months. While only certain categories of people, including patients and humanitarian workers, are allowed to cross through Erez into Israel, Rafah remains the only crossing open for Gazans to access the outside world.




Gaza Crossings with Israel
This week (16-22 October), only 230 truckloads of goods, or less than one-quarter of the weekly average since the beginning of the year, entered Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing. Nearly half of the incoming truckloads carried food items. The reason for the sharp decline in the volume of imports was the closure of the crossing for two out of five normal operation days due to the Jewish holiday of Sukkot. The Kerem Shalom crossing is the sole operational crossing for goods into Gaza,
rendering the population highly vulnerable to prolonged closures of this crossing.


For more information, please contact Mai Yassin at yassinm@un.org or +972 (0)2 5829962.

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