The recent escalation in hostilities between armed groups in Gaza and Israel has continued in this reporting period, resulting in the death of one Palestinian civilian (by a Palestinian rocket), the deaths of seven members of armed groups, as well as injuries among Palestinian and Israeli civilians and combatants. Civilian homes, property and infrastructure in Gaza and Israel were also damaged. This escalation highlights again the fragility of the situation and recalls the imperative of all sides to fulfill their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians from the effects of war, including adhering to the principles of proportionality and distinction.
The declining trend in the number of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces recorded in recent weeks continued. Two of this week’s injuries occurred in the course of demonstrations in the Ramallah governorate against the expansion of Hallamish settlement on land belonging to An Nabi Saleh village and outside Ofer prison in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners. On 19 October, in a clash between a Palestinian and Israeli forces at a flying checkpoint in the Hebron governorate, the Palestinian was physically assaulted and injured.
Settler violence continues; attacks affecting the olive harvest decline
Five incidents of settler violence in the context of olive harvest season were recorded this week; a slight decline compared to the number in the previous two weeks. In two incidents, on 17 and 19 October, settlers stoned Palestinian farmers while they were en route to and while harvesting their olive trees near Bracha settlement (Nablus); two Palestinians (a man and a woman) were injured in these incidents.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Killed this week: 0
Killed in 2012: 4
Killed in 2011: 10
Injured this week: 3 (2 in demonstrations)
Injured in 2012: 2,259
Injured in 2011: 1,460
2012 vs. 2011 weekly averages: 60 vs. 30
Search and arrest operations by Israeli forces this
week: around 70
In two other incidents on 23 and 18, Israeli settlers reportedly set fire to olive trees in As Sawiya village (Nablus) and Al Jalazoun refugee camp (Ramallah), resulting in damage to approximately 48 and two trees, respectively. This represents a significant decline compared to the weekly average of over 400 trees damaged by settlers in the previous two weeks. Three farmers from Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) reported that settlers stole their crops that had just been harvested.
A number of additional attacks, unrelated to the olive harvest, were also recorded during the week. On 23 October, Israeli settlers physically assaulted a Palestinian working at a petrol station in the Gush Etzion settlement area (Bethlehem). In two separate incidents, settlers erected a fence around ten dunums of land in Qaryut (Nablus), of which Palestinians claim ownership, and attempted to plant olive seedlings on a piece of land belonging to residents of Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya). On 22 October, Israeli settlers set fire to a Palestinian-plated vehicle near Abu al ‘Asja village near Otni’el settlement (Hebron).
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 11
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinian injuries by settler violence:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 139
Injured in 2011: 183
2012 vs. 2011 weekly averages: 3 vs. 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 37
Injured in 2011: 37
2012 vs. 2011 weekly averages: 1 vs. 1
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished in 2012: 472
Of which residences: 138
People displaced in 2012: 682
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 12 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 17 vs. 21
Three civilian structures demolished in Area C
This week, the Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian-owned structures, including, a water cistern and two agricultural structures in Wadi el Grouz area (Hebron) and Qaqiliya City, respectively, due to the lack of permit.
The cistern served the domestic water needs of some 27 people (five families). Since the beginning of 2012, the Israeli authorities have demolished 26 water cisterns in Area C on the same grounds.
In addition, this week the Israeli forces issued stop work orders against two houses in Al Walaja village (Bethlehem) and two commercial structures in Beit Sahur (Bethelem). The Israeli forces also delivered eviction orders to three families in the northern Jordan Valley (‘Ein el Hilwa and Humsa al Farsheh), giving them 72 hours and 48 hours to leave the area. The orders were given on grounds that the area is designated as a “firing zone”.
Hostilities continue: one Palestinian civilian killed
The recent escalation in hostilities continued, impacting civilians in the Gaza Strip and in southern Israel. By the end of the reporting period, one Palestinian civilian and five members of Palestinian armed groups had been killed and an Israeli civilian, three foreign national civilians, two Israeli soldiers, and eight members of Palestinian armed groups had been injured in various incidents.
On 22 October, armed clashes between Israeli forces and a Palestinian armed group took place in the Beit Hanoun area (northern Gaza) in the course of an Israeli incursion to the Gaza Strip. The Israeli Air Force (IAF) targeted the members of the group, killing one and injuring another. Hostilities spread to another area in Beit Hanoun where another air strike killed a member of an armed group and injured two others. The air strikes resulted in damage to three public buildings. The same day, a Palestinian civilian was killed and two houses damaged when a rocket fired by an armed group in the Gaza Strip towards southern Israel landed in a residential area in Beit Hanoun.
The violence continued the next day in an area east of Khan Younis. Palestinian armed men fired mortar shells and detonated an explosive device targeting Israeli troops conducting an incursion inside Gaza; one Israeli soldier was injured. In two further incidents that day, the IAF targeted members of an armed group while they were reportedly attempting to fire projectiles towards southern Israel, killing three of them and injuring five others.
During these two days, armed groups fired dozens of rockets and mortar shells at civilian areas and military bases in southern Israel. As a result, on 23 October, four civilians, including one Israeli and three foreign workers, and a soldier were injured and five houses and an agricultural structure were damaged.
Restrictions on access to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore continued during the reporting period. The Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats on eight occasions, forcing them ashore; in one incident, four fishermen were arrested and their boat was confiscated.
Transfer of fuel from Qatar resumed
On 23 October, the Egyptian authorities allowed fuel from Qatar to be transferred from Egypt through Israel into the Gaza Strip for the first time since an armed attack in the Sinai on 5 August this year. In June, approximately 30 million liters of fuel were donated by Qatar for the Gaza Power Plant, of which 6.5 million liters have so far been allowed to enter Gaza. Prior to this week’s development, the GPP operated at half of its full capacity due to fuel shortages and, as a result, power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip continued for about 12 hours per day.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 5
Killed in 2012: 67
Killed in 2011: 108
Injured this week: 8
Injured in 2012: 277
Injured in 2011: 467
2012 weekly average of injured: 8
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
Israeli casualties by Palestinian fire from Gaza
Injured this week: 3
Six truckloads of date bars exited Gaza to the West Bank
This week, six truckloads of date bars slated for UN World Food Program (WFP) projects were allowed by the Israeli authorities to be transported to the West Bank. In total, since the beginning of 2012, 33 truckloads of goods, including 29 truckloads of date bars coordinated by WFP and four truckloads of furniture, were allowed to exit Gaza and transported to the West Bank. These approvals were given on an exceptional basis; the overall ban on the transfer of commercial goods to the West Bank and Israel remains in place.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Number of truckloads (TL) entered this week (14-20 Oct): 1,626
T L carrying food: 39%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of 2012: 1,073
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 6
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 5
Weekly average before the blockade: 240
Please note that the figures in this report are subject to changes upon the receipt of additional information.
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