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

Key issues

Around 50 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces, the majority of whom were minors.
Settlers violence continued - 1,000 olive trees were damaged.
Thirteen people were displaced in East Jerusalem as a result of demolitions.
One Palestinian civilian was injured by Israeli forces near the fence and three children were injured by an UXO in Gaza.


Injuries remain below weekly average

The number of Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces in different areas of the West Bank more than doubled this week compared to last week (21 vs. 49). The total number of injuries this week included 30 minors. However, the number is still significantly lower than the weekly average since the beginning of the year (119).

Clashes between Palestinian youths and Israeli forces erupted on 28 May in the Al Tal area near Al Khader village in Bethlehem, while the latter was patrolling the area. The clashes continued over the course of a few days and involved stone throwing by Palestinian youths and firing of tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets by Israeli forces. Sixteen Palestinians were injured as a result of tear gas inhalation and one was wounded by a rubber-coated metal bullet. Additional clashes took place near Khokhav Ya’akov settlement (Jerusalem), when Palestinians threw stones towards an Israeli military jeep patrolling the area on 31 May. Israeli forces responded by firing live ammunition, injuring two Palestinians. A minor, aged 15, was shot and injured with live ammunition fired by Israeli forces near Rachel’s Tomb (Bethlehem) on 31 May. The circumstances behind this incident remain unclear.

Nineteen Palestinians were injured during clashes in two weekly demonstrations, the first a protest in Bil’in village (Ramallah), against the isolation of its agricultural land by the Barrier, and another in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), against the long-standing closure of the village’s entrance for the purpose of facilitating movement for Israeli settlers. Four Palestinians were also injured in clashes in search-and-arrest operations that were carried out by Israeli forces in Nablus, Jenin and Hebron cities during the week.

Over one thousand trees and some vehicles damaged by settlers

This week, there were at least 18 incidents of damage to property affecting Palestinians and one that led to a Palestinian injury (in Gilo settlement in Jerusalem). This represents a 50 per cent increase compared to the weekly average of such incidents so far in 2013. No settlers were injured this week.

In five of incidents this week, settlers reportedly set fire to or cut down at least 1,220 olive trees, the bulk of which (614) belonged to the villages of Madama and Burin (Nablus); two Palestinians were injured while putting out the fire. The remaining included 300 trees in ‘Awarta (Nablus), 160 in Beitillu (Ramallah), 100 trees in Jit (Qalqiliya), 30 in ‘Asira al Qibliya (Nablus), and 20 trees in Husan (Bethlehem). In ‘Asira al Qibliya, Madama (both in Nablus) and Zif (Hebron), wheat crops were also set on fire and damaged.

In two incidents on 31 May in East Jerusalem, settlers slashed the tires, sprayed graffiti on or set fire to at least 16 cars in Shu’fat (East Jerusalem) and in Az Zubeidat and Marj Na’ja (both in Jericho) and threw stones towards vehicles in At Tur, damaging some of them. In separate incidents this week, the Israeli media reported that 11 Israelis, including eight children aged between 12 and 15 years, from the settlements of Bat Ayin (Bethlehem) and Kiryat Arba’ (Hebron) and the settlement outpost of Havat Gilad (Nablus) were arrested in the past two weeks and charged with throwing rocks at Palestinian vehicles or setting fire to fields belonging to Palestinians.

In two additional incidents this week, anti-Christian and “price-tag” graffiti was sprayed by Israeli settlers on a church in the Old City of Jerusalem and on several houses and cars in Beitillu village (Ramallah). The Israeli Prime Minister condemned these “price-tag” attacks in a public statement this week. In two further incidents that resulted in no injuries or damage, Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails toward a settler bus driving near Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus) and at Israeli vehicles near Al Khader village in Bethlehem.

One house and three livelihood structures demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C

This week, the Israeli authorities demolished four Palestinian-owned structures in East Jerusalem and Area C on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits. This is a significant decline compared to the weekly average of 12 demolitions that have occurred in the past month. As a result of this week’s demolitions, 13 people, including five children, were displaced and the livelihoods of 34 other people were affected.

One of the structures was a house in Beit Hanina in East Jerusalem and the other three were a car maintenance workshop in Hizma (Jerusalem) and two agricultural structure in Susiya (Hebron) and Al Khader (Bethlehem). Also this week, demolition orders were issued against three houses in East Jerusalem and evacuation orders were issued against three families, including instructions to demolish their residential and livelihood structures, in Al Ubeidiya in Bethlehem due to their location in a “firing zone”. While the families resided before the designation of the area as “firing zone”, these structures were built recently. In addition, Israeli forces handed over evacuation orders affecting land in Bruqin village (Salfit) on which 1,000 olive seedlings are planted on the grounds that they are designated as “state land”. The Palestinians affected say they own the land.


One injured near the fence

After almost three weeks with no injuries recorded in the Gaza Strip, a Palestinian farmer was shot and injured on 2 June by Israeli forces while he was approximately 300 meters from the fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip. Israeli forces also conducted at least two land leveling operations a few hundred meters on the Gaza side of the fence on 29 May. These incidents took place in the context of access restrictions imposed by the Israeli military in areas near the fence.

In relation to the restrictions on fishing areas beyond 6 nautical miles (NM) from the Gaza shore, Israeli naval forces opened fire on Palestinian fishermen on a number of occasions to force them ashore. While no injuries were reported, at least one boat sustained damage. Local sources indicated that in some cases the fishermen were sailing between 5 to 6 NM at the time of the shooting. Restrictions on access to fishing areas continue to undermine the fishing sector in Gaza. There are approximately 3,500 registered fishermen in Gaza, down from some 10,000 in September 2000. There are an additional 2,000 workers who rely fully or partially on income generated from fishing-related jobs.

Three children injured by UXO

On 28 May, an unexploded ordnance (UXO) being handled by a member of an armed Palestinian group exploded inside a house in Jabaliya, injuring him and three children (aged 3, 5 and 11). Since the beginning of 2013, two children have been killed in incidents related to explosive remnants of war (ERWs). Additionally, 23 Palestinians, including 19 children, have been injured.

Fourth death sentence this year

On 30 May, a Palestinian military court in Gaza sentenced a civilian man to death by hanging, allegedly for collaborating with what the court described as a “hostile element”. This is the fourth death sentence that has been issued by Palestinian courts in the Gaza Strip 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 109 death sentences issued in Gaza since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994, 25 have been executed (14 without the required Palestinian presidential ratification).

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