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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
14 September 2010

    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    occupied Palestinian territory

1 - 14 September 2010

West Bank

Six Palestinians injured by Israeli forces; arrests and access restrictions in
the aftermath of the killing of four Israeli settlers

In various incidents during the two-week reporting period, Israeli forces injured six Palestinians and five Israeli and international activists, compared with 16 Palestinian injuries in the previous two weeks. Five Israeli Border Policemen were also injured in this period in one incident in East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of 2010, eight Palestinians and two members of the Israeli forces have been killed, and 809 Palestinians and 113 Israeli soldiers and policemen have been injured in the context of violent incidents involving Israeli security forces in the West Bank.

Six of the injuries during the reporting period, including one Palestinian and five Israeli and international activists, occurred during weekly demonstrations: against the Barrier construction in Bil’in village (Ramallah governorate) and settler violence in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem. Other weekly protests that took place in the Ramallah area, against Barrier construction in Ni’lin village and the expansion of Hallamish settlement, evolved into clashes between demonstrators and Israeli forces but ended without injuries. Approximately two-thirds of the Palestinian injuries by Israeli forces since the beginning of the year have taken place in the course of demonstrations.

Another four Palestinians were injured in search and arrest operations in the village of Hadab al Fawwar (three) and in the H2 area of Hebron City (one) in the Hebron governorate, following the killing of four Israeli settlers on 31 August. Other measures taken in the aftermath of that incident include the closure of three roads in the Hebron area leading to Al Baqa’a area (1,100 people), Bani Na’im (over 21,800 residents) and Sa’ir (19,600 residents) villages. While the first two were re-opened after a few days, the latter remains closed.

In the same context, according to international and Palestinian media, the PA security forces arrested hundreds of alleged Hamas activists over the past two weeks. The Palestinian Center for Human Rights has expressed concern over reports about the maltreatment of some of these detainees held in PA prisons.

Increase in settler-related violence

During the reporting period, OCHA documented ten incidents involving Israeli settlers that resulted in Palestinian injuries (two) or damage to property (eight). A separate incident during the reporting period resulted in the injury of two Israeli settlers. The majority of the incidents affecting Palestinians came in the context of retaliations carried out by settlers for the killing of four settlers and the injury of two others during this and the previous reporting periods. Overall, a total of 183 incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or property damage have taken place in 2010, compared to 103 incidents reported in the same period last year.

Two Palestinians, including a five year-old girl, were injured in separate incidents when Israeli settlers stoned a house in H2 area (Hebron City) and a parking lot in the village of Sabastiya (Nablus governorate). The incident resulting in the two Israeli settler injuries involved Palestinian gunmen who opened fire at a settler vehicle driving in the Ramallah governorate.

In two separate incidents leading to property damage, Israeli settlers from the Kiryat Arba’ settlement (Hebron governorate) set a fire in the vicinity of a Palestinian house, located in H2 area; and a group of Israeli settlers stoned another house in Sinjil village (Ramallah governorate), breaking its windows. In both incidents, Israeli forces intervened and removed the settlers.

A number of stone-throwing incidents targeting Palestinian-plated vehicles were reported throughout the West Bank, three of which resulted in damages to cars. Following one of the stone-throwing incidents, Israeli forces closed for Palestinian use a main road in the northern West Bank, connecting the Nablus area northwards. In addition, following the shooting incident targeting the settler car, Israeli settlers blocked Palestinian access to two villages (Um Safa in Ramallah and Bani Nai’m in Hebron) and a road (near Silwad village in Ramallah) for short periods of time. Additionally, a number of stone-throwing incidents were reported against settlers driving on West Bank roads, resulting in damages to three vehicles.

In the northern West Bank, Israeli settlers from Shilo and Eli settlements took over 70 dunums of land belonging to the village of Qaryut (Nablus governorate). The land is planted with more than 2,000 olive trees belonging to 40 families from the village.

No demolitions in Area C; issuance of stop work orders continues

There were no records of demolitions by Israeli authorities in Area C of the West Bank for over 30 days. This lull has taken place in the context of an Israeli moratorium on house demolitions announced on the occasion of the month of Ramadan.

The Israeli authorities, however, delivered stop work orders against residential tents, which affected 36 Bedouin families in the Al Qilt area of Jericho governorate. The orders were issued on the grounds that the tents lack building permits. In a similar context, another stop-work order was issued against one shack in Al Malih area (Tubas governorate), which was built by UN FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization). The owners of a number of similar structures in the same area were ordered verbally to demolish their own shacks. Also, Israeli forces issued an evacuation order targeting 600 dunums of land, which belong to 150 families in the village of Qarawat Bani Hassan (Salfit governorate), on the grounds that the property is located in a “natural reserve”.

Since the beginning of 2010, 247 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in Area C, displacing 293 people. In comparison, 186 structures were demolished in the same period in 2009 and 319 persons displaced.

Access update

The Israeli authorities imposed a four-day general closure on the West Bank (from 8 until 11 September), on the occasion of the Jewish New Year. All Palestinians holding West Bank IDs, including those with valid permits, except workers at international organizations and medical staff, were prevented from entering Israel and East Jerusalem during the closure period.

The Israeli authorities reported that more than 80,000 Palestinian holders of West Bank IDs were able to cross into Jerusalem on the fourth Friday of the month of Ramadan (3 September) and around 74,000 during Laylat al Qadr (Night of Destiny; 5 September). The Directorate of the Jerusalem Waqf indicated that around 240,000 and 300,000 people were able to access the Al Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City on both days, respectively. Access was restricted only to men over 50, women over 45 years of age and children under 12, who were allowed to pass without permits. Men between the ages of 45 and 50, and women between 30 and 45 were eligible for special permits. These age restrictions deny access for the majority of the West Bank population not included in these age groups (or denied a permit), as well as almost the entire population of the Gaza Strip.

Gaza Strip

Five Palestinians civilians killed in incidents along the Gaza fence and
in air strikes

In the two-week reporting period, Israeli forces killed five Palestinian civilians and injured seven others. In 2010, 46 Palestinians (including 19 civilians), three Israeli soldiers and one foreign national have been killed in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel. Another 187 Palestinians (including 162 civilians) and eight Israeli soldiers have been injured.

Incidents along the fence, dividing the Gaza Strip and Israel, continue. In one incident on 12 September, three Palestinian civilians were killed, including two children (16 and 17) and an old man (91), when Israeli forces fired tank shells towards an area in Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. According to the Gaza-based human rights center Al Mezan, the Palestinians were herding their flock on their land, which is located 500 metres from the fence. The Israeli media, citing the Israeli army, reported that the incident took place after armed Palestinians fired mortar shells towards Israeli forces positioned at the fence. In another two separate incidents, two Palestinians were injured when Israeli forces opened ‘warning’ fire towards Palestinian civilians collecting scrap metal and rubble near the fence. Also, on a number of different occasions this week, Israeli forces launched incursions a few hundred metres into the Gaza Strip and withdrew after leveling land. One of these incursions evolved into an armed clash between Israeli forces and armed Palestinians, resulting in the injury of an armed Palestinian. Civilian casualties along the fence occur in the context of Israeliimposed restrictions on access to areas up to 1,000-1,500 meters from the fence. Restrictions are enforced by opening ‘warning’ fire towards people approaching or present in these areas.

Another two Palestinians were killed and four others injured in two separate incidents, after Israeli air strikes hit tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border, while people were working inside. Another Palestinian was killed by electrocution in a separate tunnel incident. Since the beginning of 2010, 39 Palestinians, including two children, have been killed and another 66 Palestinians have been injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses, electrocution and the explosion of gas cylinders. In another tunnel-related incident, resulting in no casualties, air strikes targeted and hit tunnels, destroying some of them and causing minor damage to a number of adjacent houses.

Palestinian armed factions launched a number of rudimentary rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel, including at military bases located along the border; no Israeli injuries or damage were reported. The IDF spokesperson reported recently that there is an increase in the number of projectiles fired from Gaza towards southern Israel.

Gaza crossings: the impact of recently-applied easings remains

Despite the significant increase in the volume of imports into the Gaza Strip in recent weeks, entry of construction and other essential raw materials continued to be restricted, which impedes major reconstruction projects, while the restriction imposed on exports limits the scope of economic reactivation; most imports are consumer goods, primarily food (66 percent).

In the two-week reporting period, a weekly average of 943 truckloads entered Gaza, a slight decline, compared to the number of truckloads which entered in the previous two-week period (1,064). This decline is namely due to the Jewish and Muslim holidays, during which the main Gaza commercial crossings were operational for only four out of five days a week. The current weekly number of truckloads allowed in represented only 34 percent of the weekly average of truckloads that entered during the first five months of 2007, prior to the imposition of the blockade. While some raw materials and machinery used for local production also entered, due the ban on exports and the low purchasing power of the Gazan population, local production remains limited.

Despite an increase in industrial fuel, electricity outages continue

During the two-week reporting period, a weekly average of 2.05 million litres of industrial fuel was supplied to Gaza to operate the local Power Plant (GPP), allowing for an increase in the plant’s production of electricity from 30 to 60 megawatts (MW). This weekly amount is the largest quantity that entered Gaza since the beginning of 2010, when a weekly average of 1.23 million litres of fuel were allowed; this amount, however constitutes only 65 percent of the quantity needed to operate the plant at full capacity (80 MW). The operation of the Gaza plant has significantly declined since December 2009 due to the shortage of imported industrial fuel, resulting from an ongoing funding crisis. As a result, the majority of the population in Gaza continues to experience power outages of 4-6 hours per day, a relative improvement compared to the average of 8-12 hours of power outages, which were common until late August 2010. Although power cuts were reduced by almost half following this recent increase in fuel supply, the daily life in Gaza as well as the provision of essential services, including regular water supply, sewage treatment and removal, and the functioning of health services, continue to be affected by the chronic lack of electricity; the current daily supply of electricity stands at about 30 percent below the estimated demand.

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