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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
26 December 2014

Key issues
Israeli forces kill a Palestinian man and injure 64 others across the West Bank.
First Israeli airstrike in Gaza since the ceasefire in response to rocket fire.
Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt reopened for three days in both directions.
Israeli forces injure five Palestinians in Access Restricted Areas in Gaza.

Israeli forces kill a Palestinian and injure 64 others across the West Bank

In the early morning of 16 December, Israeli forces shot and killed a 21-year-old Palestinian man with live ammunition during clashes which erupted during a search and arrest operation in the Qalandiya Refugee Camp (Jerusalem). According to the Israeli army, Israeli soldiers opened fire towards Palestinians throwing an explosive device at them. Overall, during the week Israeli forces carried out 116 search and arrest operations across the West Bank, six of which evolved into clashes that resulted in one fatality and seven injuries; the latter include a Palestinian man with a heart condition, who became unconscious after being beaten during an operation in Hebron city.

Another serious confrontation was recorded on 19 December in Turmus’ayya village, where ten Palestinians were injured, including a child shot and injured with live ammunition. The clashes occurred during a march in honour of the Palestinian minister Ziad Abu Ein who died last week during an olive tree planting event in Turmus’ayya, after being physically assaulted by an Israeli soldier.

Overall, protests and clashes in connection to the killing incident in Qalandiya Camp and to the death of the Palestinian Minister accounted for 34 per cent of the injuries recorded this week (22 out of 64). One of the largest clashes in this context was recorded the following day, in Anata town (Jerusalem), during which eight Palestinians, including four children, were shot and injured with rubber bullets by Israeli forces.

Additionally, twelve Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) in the weekly protest against the longstanding closure of the village’s main eastern entrance, settlement expansion and restrictions on access to agricultural land near Qedumim settlement, and two others were injured in the weekly protest in Bil’in (Ramallah) against the Barrier.

In two separate incidents on 19 and 20 December, Israeli forces shot and injured seven Palestinians in Wadi al Joz and Al ‘Isawiya areas in East Jerusalem, and arrested three others, during protests against semi-daily Israeli military operations and flying checkpoints in those areas, which have reportedly intensified in recent months.

Decline in settler violence

Only one settler-related incident affecting Palestinian property (stealing of a donkey next to ‘Ein Qiniya village (Ramallah)) was reported during the week, compared to a weekly average of six incidents resulting in Palestinian casualties or damage to property since the beginning of 2014.

A number of additional settler incidents that did not result in casualties or damage to property were also reported during the week. On 19 December, a five-year-old Palestinian boy was treated for shock, after Israeli settlers tried to forcibly pull him out of his car parked on the main road of Huwwara village (Nablus). The settlers fled the scene upon the arrival of his father, who described the incident as a failed kidnap attempt.

On 16 December, Israeli settlers from the Ahiya settlement outpost levelled 40 dunums of uncultivated land reportedly belonging to residents of the nearby village of Jalud (Nablus), in preparation for the expansion of the outpost. In recent years, residents of Jalud have suffered from systematic attacks and intimidation, as well as takeover of land, by settlers from the nearby outpost of Esh Kodesh; both settlements are illegal not only under international but also under Israeli law.

Also this week, two Palestinian children were injured, in two separate hit-and-run incidents in Al Lubban al Gharbi village (Ramallah) reportedly involving Israeli settler vehicles, bringing the number of such incidents to 18 in 2014 compared to 14 in 2013.

According to Israeli media reports, three Palestinian attacks against settlers and other Israelis were recorded this week in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; one of which resulted in injury and two in damage to property. All three incidents involved Palestinian stone-throwing, in addition to one incident of stone throwing at the Shu’fat segment of the Jerusalem light rail.

Five structures demolished in Area C; livelihood related equipment requisitioned

This week, Israeli authorities demolished five Palestinian structures and delivered at least six stop-work and demolition orders in the West Bank. All demolitions took place in Area C of the Jerusalem governorate due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

On 17 December, Israeli authorities demolished a commercial structure, in the community of Al Khalayleh and requisitioned a stone cutter machine worth NIS 36,000, affecting a registered refugee family of six. This community is located on the Jerusalem side of the Barrier, physically separated from the rest of the West Bank and prohibited from access to East Jerusalem.

On 22 December, Israeli authorities demolished two residential structures as well as two animal barracks in Jabal al Baba community, in addition to partially demolishing two other structures. As a result, two registered refugee families, comprising nine Palestinians, including six children, were displaced and five other registered refugee households were affected. Of note, the community of Jabal al Baba is one of 46 Bedouin communities in the central West Bank at risk of forcible transfer by the Israeli Civil Administration to three sites allocated for this purpose in the Jericho area.

Another two incidents involving the requisition of property in Area C were recorded during the week. On 17 December, Israeli authorities requisitioned one waste-collection vehicle servicing the communities of Yassuf and Iskaka (Salfit), on unclear grounds. On 18 December, Israeli forces requisitioned one tent, 20 water tanks and 50 seedlings in an area east of Tammun town (Tubas) designated by the Israeli military as afiring zone”. The materials were used for a project involving the creation of “green spaces” implemented by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture.


First Israeli airstrike since the ceasefire in response to rocket fire

On 20 December, Israeli air forces launched an airstrike targeting a site reportedly used by Hamas for training, northwest of Khan Younis. No injuries were reported, but the facility was destroyed and a nearby UNRWA boys School also sustained minor damage. According to the Israeli military, the airstrike came in response to a rocket fired from the Gaza Strip towards Israel a day earlier, which was reportedly the third such incident since the ceasefire.

Incidents involving Israeli forces opening fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) by land and at sea have continued on a daily basis, with 20 such incidents reported during the week. In one of the incidents on 19 December, five Palestinian civilians reportedly involved in stone throwing at Israeli forces, were shot and injured at around 100 meters from the fence, east of Jabalia. Additionally, in at least seven incidents, Israeli naval forces opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats reportedly sailing within the Israeli declared six-Nautical-Mile (NM) fishing limit, forcing them ashore; no injuries or property damage were reported.

Also in the ARA, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians reportedly while they were attempting to infiltrate into Israel in search of work. According to the Israeli military, following the July-August 2014 hostilities, there has been a 25 per cent increase in the number of Palestinian attempts to infiltrate into Israel. Similarly an increase has been noted in the number of Palestinians attempting to enter Europe illegally, by sea from Egypt. On 20 December, the Egyptian authorities released 51 Palestinians who had been detained in the North Sinai city of Al Arish in the context of such attempts and they are now awaiting deportation back to Gaza.

Egypt opened Rafah Crossing for three days

The Egyptian Authorities reopened the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt in both directions for three days on 21, 22 and 23 December. According to the Director of Border Crossings in Gaza, approximately 1,100 people, mainly patients and students, were able to leave Gaza and 900 to return. Furthermore, the Egyptian authorities allowed the entry of approximately 120 tons of medical supplies and seven ambulances through the Egyptian Red Crescent. The medical supplies and ambulances were provided by Algeria and Qatar charities.

The Rafah crossing was closed since 24 October, following an attack in the Sinai during which 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed; since then, it was partially opened for travel into Gaza only, on four days. According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, there are around 17,000 registered people, including medical patients, waiting to exit Gaza, in addition to an estimated 37,000 others who wish to exit Gaza, including to Saudi Arabia for pilgrimage.

Cleaning services to health facilities in Gaza resume after 16 days of suspension

On 18 December the cleaning companies that provide the bulk of services to 13 hospitals and 56 health centers in Gaza under the auspices of the Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) reached an agreement with the Ministry of Health, ending a 16-day strike.

According to the MoH, the strike caused the postponement of around 2,800 surgeries and discontinued medical attention to approximately 50,000 patients, including 4000 children, for fear of contamination and spread of diseases due to the accumulation of medical waste

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