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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
13 May 2013

Key issues

Israeli forces injure around 60 Palestinians in protests and clashes across the West Bank. Three Israeli forces individuals also injured.

Israeli forces demolish 16 residential and livelihood structures, displacing 14 people and affecting over 80 others.

One Palestinian man sentenced to death by the local authorities in Gaza, allegedly for collaborating with what the court described as a “hostile element”.

Dozens injured in clashes with Israeli forces

This week, around 60 Palestinians, including 14 children, were injured in protests and clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank; the majority of them (58 per cent) were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets. Three members of Israeli forces were injured during these clashes.

Amidst clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, which involved stone-throwing by Palestinians and firing of rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters by Israeli forces, a total of 22 Palestinians were injured in two protests held this week in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners at Beituniya checkpoint (Ramallah) and in Beit Ummar village (Hebron). Additionally, 14 Palestinians were injured during weekly protests against the expansion of Hallamish settlement on Nabi Saleh’s land and settler violence in Silwad village (both in Ramallah), and against the permanent closure of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya). Four other Palestinians were injured in a protest in Al Walaja village (Bethlehem) against the continued construction of the Barrier. The majority of injuries by Israeli security forces recorded in 2013 have taken place within the context of demonstrations, accounting for 88 per cent of all injuries in the first four months of the year.

Tensions rose in East Jerusalem this week within the context of “Jerusalem Day” on 8 May and related Israeli restrictions on the entry of male and female worshippers into Al Aqsa Mosque/Temple mount compound on 7 and 8 May. Between 7 and 11 May, clashes between Palestinians, Israelis, including settlers, and/or Israeli forces were reported in and around Al Aqsa Mosque/Temple Mount Compound and in At Tur, leading to the injury of 10 Palestinians and one Israeli police officer. In addition, 44 Palestinians, including eight children, were detained by Israeli forces in various parts of East Jerusalem during clashes, demonstrations and search operations. Elsewhere, six Palestinians were also injured during clashes with Israeli forces in search-and-arrest operations in ‘Urif (Nablus) and Ar Ram town (Jerusalem).

Also this week on 8 May, Palestinian security forces opened fire at a vehicle in Sa’ir village during an attempt to arrest a Palestinian, killing the man’s wife. Clashes erupted between residents of Sa’ir and Palestinian forces in the village, resulting in injury to 12 Palestinian policemen. Also related, Palestinians in a civilian vehicle opened fire at the PA security forces in the same area and the latter responded with live ammunition, injuring two.

Settler-related incidents continue

This week, 13 Israeli settler-related incidents affecting Palestinians and their property were recorded, compared to 14 incidents last week. There were no incidents affecting settlers. While the number of incidents recorded this week decreased, it remained above the 2013 weekly average, with tensions remaining high, particularly in the northern West Bank, following the stabbing and killing of an Israeli settler on 30 April.

Israeli settlers perpetrated four stone-throwing incidents targeting Palestinian-plated vehicles, of which three incidents occurred in Nablus on 7 and 9 May, resulting in injury to four Palestinians and damage to three vehicles, and one in Ramallah on 9 May, resulting in one injury. In addition, a Palestinian was reportedly stabbed and injured by a settler in Gilo settlement on 7 May; the circumstances behind the incident remain unclear.

In one major incident involving damage to private property on 13 May, settlers vandalized around 200 seedlings, slashed the tires of two tractors and wrote “price-tag” graffiti on a tomb belonging to As Sawiya village (Nablus). In three incidents on 10 May, settlers cut down around 60 olive trees belonging to At Tuwani village (Hebron), and set fire to wheat and barley crops in the villages of Tuba (Hebron) and Burin (Nablus).

Also this week, around 350 fruit saplings belonging to An Nabi Samuel village in Jerusalem were damaged as a result of sewage flow from the nearby Har Shamuel settlement, affecting the livelihood of a family of six people. Leakage of sewage from Israeli settlements has damaged Palestinian agricultural land in a number of West Bank locations. In 2013, incidents have been recorded in Bethlehem and Nablus governorates.

16 residential and livelihood structures demolished

The Israeli authorities demolished 16 Palestinian-owned residential and livelihood structures in Area C on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits. As a result, 14 people, including six children were displaced and 85 others were affected.

The demolished structures included four residential structures and a kitchen in Al Auja village in Jericho and Fasayil el Wusta in the Jordan Valley, displacing 14 people, including six children. Additionally, two agricultural water cisterns belonging to Khirbet Jamrura community (Hebron) were demolished. Israeli forces also uprooted 650 almond and olive during those demolitions on the grounds that the area is designated as “state land”. The remaining structures included five commercial structures in Barta’a ash Sharqiya village (Jenin), a greenhouse, an agricultural shed and a shop in Qalqiliya city and Jinsafut village (Qalqiliya), and an animal shed in Deir Samit (Hebron).

Also this week, the Israeli authorities issued stop-work and demolition orders to around 30 residences in Silwan (East Jerusalem) and Al Auja (Jericho) and the Khashem al Karm area (Hebron).

Under the planning regime applied by the Israeli authorities, it is almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain a permit for construction. In Area C, virtually all public land has been placed within the boundary of a Settlement Regional Council and is unavailable for Palestinian construction. The authorities also prevent the development of most private lands, on the grounds that they were zoned in the 1940s as agricultural areas. In East Jerusalem, Palestinians face similar difficulties, with only 13 per cent of the area zoned for Palestinian construction. However, much of this land is already built-up, the permitted construction density is limited and the application process is difficult and expensive.

Demolitions have serious physical, socio-economic and emotional impacts on Palestinian families. They erode families’ coping mechanisms, leaving those who suffer multiple waves of demolitions increasingly vulnerable and unable to cope with the range of difficult conditions in Area C and East Jerusalem.


One fisherman injured

In the context of Israeli restrictions on access to fishing areas, reduced again in late March 2013 to 3 nautical miles (nm) from the shore, Israeli naval forces opened warning fire and used water cannons against Palestinian fishermen to force them ashore. As a result, one fisherman was injured by electrocution; and, some fishing equipment also sustained damage. Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to the sea severely impact the livelihoods of some 3,500 Palestinian fishermen and consequently their families.

Also this week, Israeli forces fired warning shots towards Palestinian farmers in access restricted areas near the fence between Israel and Gaza in at least two incidents, and conducted at least four land leveling operations in the Gaza Strip. No injuries were reported. Israel maintains a buffer zone inside Gaza of 300 meters from the fence where Palestinians’ access is severely restricted. Since 21 November, access for Palestinian farmers to agricultural areas near the fence with Israel has improved in some specific areas, but in general there has not been sufficient access to support recovery of livelihoods.

Also this week, Palestinian armed groups fired a number of projectiles towards southern Israel. No injuries or damage to property were reported.

A man sentenced to death in Gaza

On 9 May, a military court in Gaza sentenced a 48 year-old civilian man to death by hanging, allegedly for collaborating with what the court described as a “hostile element”.1 According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, this is the second death sentence to be issued since the beginning of 2013, bringing the total number of death sentences issued since the establishment of the Palestinian Authority in 1994 to 134. These include 107 sentences issued in Gaza and 27 in the West Bank; 46 of these death sentences have been issued since 2007, following the Hamas takeover of the Gaza Strip. In total, 27 have been executed, including 25 in the Gaza Strip (14 without the required Palestinian presidential ratification) and two in the West Bank.

1 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 fair trial. Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the High Commissioner and the Secretary-General Human rights situation in Palestine and other occupied Arab territories. A/HRC/22/35. 6 March 2013.

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