This week, the IDF handed over a military order requisitioning 472 dunums of land from Jayyus and Falamiya villages to alter the route of the Barrier (Qalqiliya).
In Jerusalem, at the entrance of Shu’fat refugee camp, a bulldozer operated by the contractor constructing the Barrier demolished a one-room structure used as a taxi dispatch and 10 olive and fruit trees owned by a Palestinian family living adjacent to the Barrier construction site. On 9 September, the family had been verbally notified by contractor representatives of the impending demolition and uprooting of trees but did not receive any written notification. It remains unclear who authorized the demolition.
In Bil’in, five Palestinians and one Israeli journalist were injured by the IDF during the weekly demonstration against Barrier construction in the village (Ramallah).
On 13 September a caravan inside an outpost next to Yitzhar settlement was set on fire and a nine-year-old Israeli settler was stabbed, reportedly by a Palestinian. Following this incident, Israeli settlers from Yitzhar, many of them armed, marched into the nearby vilage of ‘Asira Al Qilbliya, set fire to one house, broke windows, cut water pipes and vandalized home gardens. According to reports by Israeli human rights groups, IDF soldiers present in the vilage during the attack refrained from taking any steps to stop the attacks. The IDF subsequently imposed a 24-hour curfew on this vilage as well as the neighbouring vilage of Madamma and carried out a search campaign that led to the injury of eight Palestinians and the arrest of another four. The Israeli Premier Ehud Olmert referred to this attack as a “pogrom” and called on the police to investigate the case and hold the perpetrators accountable. In a separate incident in the same area, Israeli settlers from Itamar settlement burnt about 400 olive trees belonging to Palestinians from ‘Awarta vilage (Nablus).
In the old city of Jerusalem, a fight broke out between Palestinians and Israeli settlers that led to the injury of three Israeli and two Palestinian youths. In Silwan (Jerusalem), construction workers at the “City of David” settlement attacked and injured two Palestinians while residents were attempting to prevent the workers from building a room on Palestinian land to use as a dumping site. In Ni’lin (Ramallah), more than 100 Israeli settlers from Hashmonaim settlement marched under the protection of the IDF towards Palestinian worshippers performing Friday prayers next to their land and threatened them through loudspeakers.
Access during Ramadan
Access into East Jerusalem for the second Friday of Ramadan was restricted to men over 50, women over 45 and children under 13, without permits, and for men between 45-50 and women between 30-45 years of age who were granted permits. An estimated 120,000 worshipers, including Palestinians with Israeli IDs, were able to reach Al Aqsa Mosque, compared to 90,000 the previous week. Also on every Friday of Ramadan, the IDF has closed Qalandiya checkpoint for vehicular movement between pre-dawn and mid-afternoon hours. In addition, during Ramadan, the IDF has extended the opening hours at checkpoints around Nablus (Huwwara, Beit Iba, ‘Asira ash Shamaliya, Beit Furik and ‘Awarta) and at Jalama, ‘Azzun ‘Atma and Ras ‘Atiya checkpoints.
Gaza Crossings: Gravel imports disproportionately higher than complementary construction materials
Between 7 and 13 September, the total number of imported truckloads increased for the second consecutive week (1,256 compared to 916 and 630 the previous two weeks) but remained lower than the number of truckloads allowed into Gaza in late July (1,478). Out of a total of 1,256 truckloads, 622 contained construction materials, 485 food and 149 had other materials (e.g. medical supplies, stationary, agricultural materials etc.). The increase can be primarily attributed to an increase in the amount of imported gravel (561 vs. 231 the previous week), most of which remained useless due to the shortage of complementary construction materials, cement in particular.
New Closure Update released by OCHA
On 19 September OCHA released the main findings and analysis of a new West Bank closure survey covering the period between 30 April and 11 September 2008. According to the report, during that period the Government of Israel took more steps aimed at easing internal movement for Palestinians in the West Bank than it had during the prior reporting period. However, while these steps are positive and welcomed, their impact is limited geographically. Moreover, the total number of obstacles throughout the West Bank reached 630, a 3.3% increase compared to the figure reported at the end of the previous reporting period. The report is available at OCHA's website.