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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
14 January 2013




نييندملا ةيامح

Key issues

Four Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed by Israeli soldiers in various incidents across the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

Settler attacks against two Palestinian villages in the Nablus area continued this week, undermining the physical security and livelihoods of the residents.

28 Palestinians were displaced following demolitions of their homes in Area C and East Jerusalem.


WEST BANK


Israeli soldiers shot and killed an adult and a boy in two incidents

On 15 January , Israeli military forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian boy in the village of Budrus (Ramallah). Local sources indicate that the soldiers opened fire with live ammunition at a group of school students who approached the Barrier located in the vicinity of their school; the boy sustained three bullet wounds to the head, abdomen and chest. According to an Israeli media report, an initial internal investigation conducted by the IDF indicates that the use of force was contrary to their rules of engagement. A criminal investigation has been opened by the Israeli Military Police. The incident triggered protests and subsequent clashes with Israeli forces in Budrus and An Nabi Saleh villages (Ramallah); during the latter, three Palestinians were wounded, including a 13-year-old boy who was hit in the head with a tear gas canister.

Another Palestinian was shot with live ammunition and killed by Israeli forces near the Barrier next to Ar Ramadin village in the Hebron area earlier in the week (12 January). The 21-year-old man was part of a group of Palestinian workers trying to access Israel without permits.

On 12 January, five Palestinians were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces during the eviction of more than 100 Palestinian activists from a tent camp set up on a site between Jerusalem and the Ma’ale Adummim settlement to protest the E1 settlement plan. Another four people were injured and 11 arrested two days later, when they attempted to access the site again. Following the upgrading of Palestine’s status at the UN last November, Israel advanced the approval of plans to build thousands of settlement housing units in the E1 project. There are 20 Bedouin communities within, and in the vicinity of E1, which, it is reported, the Israeli authorities are seeking to relocate out of the area.

The weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), protesting the longstanding closure of the main route into the village that passes through the Qedumim settlement, again resulted in clashes with Israeli soldiers; seven Palestinians, including an 11 year-old child, were injured (all due to tear gas inhalation). Following last week’s storm, the only open road to the village was flooded, resulting in the almost total isolation of the residents for 48 hours.

While the weekly protests against the Barrier and settlement expansion took place as usual and involved clashes with Israeli forces, they ended without casualties.

Six Palestinians injured during settler attacks

During the week, OCHA recorded three settler attacks that resulted in injuries to Palestinians or damage to their property; this is less than the average of seven incidents recorded per week in 2012.

Two attacks, which took place on 10 January in the Nablus governorate, involved groups of armed settlers who entered nearby Palestinian villages and clashed with local residents. One of the attacks was perpetrated by settlers from the Esh Kodesh and Kida settlement outposts against residents of Qusra village and the other by settlers from Yitzhar settlement against ‘Urif village. In the case of Qusra, settlers opened fire with live ammunition injuring one Palestinian. Israeli forces arrived at the scene in both instances and fired tear gas canisters, rubber coated bullets and live ammunition towards the Palestinian residents who threw stones at them, injuring one Palestinian in ‘Urif and four in Qusra. A total of 285 olive trees belonging to the Palestinian villagers were vandalized by Israeli settlers during these two incidents. These are the latest attacks perpetrated by settlers against these two villages; the systematic nature of such violence and harassment is undermining the physical security and the livelihoods of Palestinian residents in ‘Urif and Qusra.

In a third incident this week, a 14 year old Palestinian child was physically assaulted and sprayed with pepper gas by a group of Israelis in the Old City of East Jerusalem.



28 Palestinians displaced in Area C and East Jerusalem following demolitions

During the week, the Israeli authorities demolished a total of eight Palestinian structures in Area C and East Jerusalem due to the lack of building permits, displacing 28 people, including 10 children. The demolitions in Area C were conducted in two Bedouin communities in the vicinity of Yatta village (Hebron), Um Al Kher and Ad Deirat, where five residential structures and one animal shelter were demolished, displacing 20 people. In East Jerusalem, the Jerusalem municipality demolished two houses in Beit Hanina and Sur Baher; one was inhabited and the other was under construction. In total, eight people were displaced, including five children, and seven others were affected.

GAZA STRIP

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians near the fence

The overall situation in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel this week was relatively calm in that there were no reports of Israeli air strikes or Palestinian rocket firing. However, tensions along the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip increased, resulting in two fatalities. On 11 January, Israeli forces opened fire on a group of Palestinian civilians who had gathered at a distance of 50 meters from the fence, east of Jabalia. One 20 year old man was killed and a second man was injured when he attempted to rescue the first victim. On 14 January, Israeli forces at a military post along the fence north of Beit Lahia, opened fire at a group of Palestinian farmers working in their fields approximately 500 meters from the fence. One of the farmers was killed. The reason for the use of force is unclear.

In another incident on 9 January, Israeli forces fired warning shots towards Palestinians who approached areas near the Erez crossing to collect scrap metal; this resulted in disruptions at the crossing. An unspecified number of Palestinians were detained by Hamas Border Crossing Authority police following the incident. The next day, Israeli forces entered approximately 200 meters into the Gaza Strip north of Beit Lahia and conducted land-leveling operations.

Also this week, on 15 January, Israeli naval forces surrounded and opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats which were reportedly located approximately four nautical miles from the coast. Three fishermen were ordered to swim from their boat towards the Israeli naval vessel and were then taken to Israel for questioning. They were released the same day but the boat was confiscated.

Following the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas on 21 November 2012, Israeli forces have generally allowed Palestinians to access areas up to 300 meters from the fence, and allowed farmers to access up to 100 meters from the fence on foot. The Israeli military also announced that Palestinian fishermen could access the sea up to six nautical miles from the Gaza shore.

Tunnel collapse results in Palestinian casualties

On 9 January, four Palestinian workers were trapped in a tunnel that collapsed due to the heavy rains. Two workers were rescued the same day but two remain missing. Another tunnel collapse on 12 January also resulted in the death of a Palestinian worker. The following day, in response to the hazardous state of many of the tunnels as a result of the rains, the local authorities in Gaza announced that all tunnels would be shut down. The restriction was lifted two days later.

In 2012, at least eight workers were killed and 25 others injured in various tunnel-related incidents. Tunnels remain the main source for the transfer of certain goods, including construction materials whose entrance through the official crossings with Israel is restricted and fuel which is significantly cheaper in Egypt than Israel.

Despite increase in electricity production, long power cuts continue

On 12 January, the Egyptian authorities resumed the transfer of the Qatari donated fuel to the Gaza power plant (GPP), following a one month suspension. Since June 2012, approximately 30 per cent of the 30 million liters of the donated fuel have been transferred to Gaza. The increase in the fuel supply allowed the GPP to operate an additional turbine (a total of three out of four available turbines), increasing electricity production to 90 out of total capacity of 120 megawatts (MW). Despite this increase, the majority of the population in the Gaza Strip has continued to experience power cuts of up to eight hours per day due to the high demand on electricity during winter, reaching up to 360MW.

An accident related to the limited electricity supplies was reported this week; on 10 January, four people including two children sustained burns when a fire broke out inside their house in Jabalia camp. The fire was caused by the misuse of candles during the electricity cut.



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