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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
2 January 2015



Key issues
Israeli forces kill a Palestinian boy and injure 24 children in incidents across the West Bank.
One armed Palestinian killed and four civilians injured in various incidents along Gaza’s perimeter fence.
Israeli authorities demolished 17 structures in Area C and East Jerusalem due to lack of Israeli-issued permits.
Gaza Power Plant shut down due to lack of fuel.


WEST BANK


A Palestinian boy killed and 24 other children injured in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem

During the week, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian boy and injured around 40 others, including 24 children and two women. This brings the number of Palestinian fatalities in the West Bank since the beginning of the year to 49, including 12 children.

On 29 December, Israeli forces shot and killed a 16-year-old Palestinian child and injured two other 16-year-olds with live ammunition, near the main road between Za’tara (also known as “Tapuach”) checkpoint and the village of Osarin (Nablus). According to an Israeli spokesperson cited in media reports, the incident occurred after a group of Palestinian youths hurled stones at soldiers on patrol along the main road. The Israeli authorities have reportedly opened a military investigation into this incident.

The majority of injuries recorded this week (24 out of 41) were children, including nine by live ammunition. One of the most serious incidents occurred on 29 December, when Israeli forces opened fire at a Palestinian vehicle at the entrance of Beit Ummar (Hebron), injuring two Palestinians with live ammunition, including a 17-year-old who is in a serious condition. According to Israeli media reports, Israeli forces opened fire at the vehicle after an explosive device was thrown at them.

Another serious incident on 24 December in Al ‘Isawiya area of East Jerusalem resulted in the injury of a five-year-old Palestinian child, who was hit by a rubber bullet in his right eye during clashes with Israeli forces following protests against continuing operations in the area. According to the child’s parents, the five-year-old had just been dropped off from school and was standing in front of his house at the time.

The remaining child injuries occurred in additional clashes across the West Bank, including two boys from Beit Furik (Nablus) shot with live ammunition during clashes that erupted when Israeli forces intervened to protect Israeli settlers who marched towards the village on 24 December; a 12-year-old boy hit with a rubber bullet in his back during clashes at the entrance of Ar Ram town (Jerusalem), on 23 December; ten children treated due to severe gas inhalation during clashes in Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem), on 26 December; and a 16-year-old boy attacked by Israeli police-dogs during clashes in the village of Beit Ummar (Hebron), on 23 December.

Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces have injured a total of 1,190 Palestinian children across the West Bank, accounting for 20 per cent of all Palestinian injuries, compared to 1,185 child injuries in 2013. A significant number of child injuries during 2014 (280 injuries) was recorded during July in the Jerusalem governorate, in the context of clashes triggered by the kidnapping and killing of a Palestinian youth, Muhamad Abu Khdeir, and in protests against the hostilities in the Gaza Strip. Over 20 per cent of the child injuries this year were with live ammunition, and the remainder by rubber bullets, tear gas inhalation and physical assault.

Additionally, on 29 December, four Palestinians, including three UNRWA staff members, suffered from severe tear gas inhalation requiring medical attention after five tear gas canisters fired by Israeli forces fell in UNRWA’s service offices in Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem).




Five incidents of settler attacks result in injury to one Palestinian and significant damage to Palestinian property; a settler girl severely injured by a Molotov cocktail

Five incidents of Israeli attacks on Palestinians in the West Bank, resulting in injury and damage to Palestinian property property, were recorded this week, bringing the total number of such incidents in 2014 to 330, compared to 400 in the equivalent period in 2013.

On 25 December, Israeli settlers from the settlement of Kiryat Arba threw stones at a Palestinian house in the H2 area of Hebron city, injuring an 18 year-old Palestinian youth in his head.

On 23 December a group of armed Israeli settlers from Kfar Adumim settlement forcibly entered the residence of a Bedouin family from Khan al Ahmar Abu al Helu community in the Jerusalem periphery and damaged personal items. The family, comprising four people including two children, managed to flee the house before the incident. The settlers left the area after an Israeli police vehicle arrived. Of note, the community of Khan al Ahmar abu al Helu is one of 46 Bedouin and herder communities, comprising around 7,000 Palestinians, mostly refugees, at risk of forcible transfer due to a “relocation plan” advanced by the Israeli authorities.

Other attacks involved Israeli settlers reportedly destroying crops in land planted in Susiya village (Hebron) by spraying them with poisonous chemicals on 27 December; puncturing the tires of eight Palestinian vehicles parked in Ras al ‘Amud area of East Jerusalem on 26 December; damaging construction materials used for building a water well on land belonging to a registered Palestinian refugee family from An Nabi Samwil village (Jerusalem) on 28 December; and (not included in the count) intimidating elementary students near a school in the village of Jit (Qalqiliya) on 24 December.

According to Israeli media reports, six Palestinian attacks against settlers and other Israelis were recorded this week in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem; two of which resulted in the injury of 4 Israeli settlers, and another four incidents in damage to property. One of the most serious incidents occurred on 25 December when Palestinians reportedly hurled a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli vehicle near Azzun village (Qalqiliya), severely injuring an 11-year-old settler girl. Israeli forces carried out search operations in the area following the incident and arrested at least 15 Palestinians.

Another incident involved the throwing of a Molotov cocktail at a house in the settlement of East Talpiyyot (in East Jerusalem) causing damage to a balcony.







17 structures demolished in Area C and East Jerusalem

This week, Israeli authorities demolished 14 Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank and three in East Jerusalem due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits.

Eight of these structures, including livelihood related barracks and a room containing an electricity generator, were demolished on 24 and 25 December in the villages of Idhna and Al Burj in the Hebron governorate. Another three structures belonging to registered refugee families were demolished in Al Bireh city (Ramallah), as were two animal barracks in Az Za’ayem village (Jerusalem). In total, 56 Palestinians were affected.

On 24 December, Israeli authorities demolished three structures, including a house, an external toilet, and an animal shelter in At Tur area of East Jerusalem, displacing a family of eight, including three children. According to the family, the Israeli authorities confiscated a removable fence, a fuel tank, a water tank; the demolition of the animal shelter killed ten sheep. The family also reported that the structures were built on privately-owned land and that no demolition orders were received prior to the incident. The structures are located in an area adjacent to an area allocated by the Jerusalem Municipality to a future “national park”. The “national park” plan raises a number of concerns, including reduced space that would be available for the residential development of Palestinian communities, as well as the territorial linkage that this park would create between Israeli settlements in the area, disrupting the territorial contiguity of the West Bank.

Additionally, Israeli authorities demolished two irrigation pools in Al ‘Auja and Al Jiftlik ash Shuneh in the Jordan Valley that were in the final stages of construction. The pools were part of projects implemented by the Palestinian Ministry of Agriculture, funded by an international donor to irrigate over 1,100 dunums of cultivated land. Of note, since the beginning of the year, around 250 Palestinian structures have been demolished in the Jordan Valley compared to 234 in 2013.




GAZA STRIP


One armed Palestinian killed and four civilians injured in various incidents along Gaza’s perimeter fence; a child dies of injuries sustained during the summer’s hostilities

An exchange of fire between Israeli forces and an armed Palestinian group took place on 24 December east of Khan Younis, reportedly resulting in the killing of an armed man and the injury of one Israeli soldier. This is the second Palestinian fatality by Israeli forces recorded since the 26 August ceasefire, excluding deaths resulting from the summer hostilities.

In another incident on 26 December, Israeli forces shot at two Palestinian brothers aged 12 and 15, while they were reportedly attempting to infiltrate into Israel, injuring the elder sibling who was subsequently arrested. Another four Palestinians were arrested during the week in similar circumstances. 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.

On 28 December, Israeli forces opened fire and injured three Palestinians near the Erez Crossing. The injured were amongst hundreds of Palestinians taking part in a demonstration, one of several organized across the Gaza Strip, against Israel’s continuing blockade.

Incidents involving Israeli forces opening fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) by land and at sea have continued on a daily basis, with at least 23 such incidents reported during the week. In at least 11 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 with no injuries or property damage reported.

Also this week, on 25 December a 15-year-old Palestinian child died of wounds sustained on 30 July 2014 in Jabalia, bringing to 2,257 the number of Palestinians killed during the July-August hostilities, including 539 children.




Egypt reclosed Rafah Crossing following a three-day-long opening

On 24 December, the Egyptian Authorities closed the Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt after three days of opening between 21 and 23 December, during which time according to the Director of Border Crossings in Gaza approximately 1,100 people, mainly patients and students, left Gaza and 900 returned. The Rafah crossing has been closed since 24 October, following an attack in the Sinai during which 30 Egyptian soldiers were killed; since then, and apart from the above, it was partially opened for travel on four days into Gaza only. As a result, 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, according to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza.

Gaza Power Plant shuts down due to lack of fuel

At 6:00 on 28 December, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) was forced to suspend operations after exhausting its fuel reserves, due to the lack of funds. As a result, scheduled power outages across the Gaza Strip increased from 12 to 18 hours a day on average, in cycles of six hours on and 12 hours off.

The shutdown of the GPP has rendered Gaza entirely dependent on the supply of electricity purchased from Israel (120 MW) and Egypt (30 MW), which can meet less than a third of the estimated demand. To operate at full capacity and produce 120 megawatts (MW) the GPP requires approximately 450,000 liters of fuel a day in order to maintain a cycle of eight hours on and eight hours off.

The financial situation of the GPP has recently deteriorated due to two key factors. First, a tax exemption that was granted in the past by the Palestinian Ministry of Finance to the GPP regarding fuel purchases has recently expired, significantly increasing the cost of fuel. Second, due to the deterioration in the economic situation of the population since the summer’s hostilities, the collection of revenues from electricity consumption by households has decreased sharply.

This development is expected to result in a further worsening in the provision of basic services, including, among others, reduction in the duration and frequency of water provision to households; shortening of wastewater treatment cycles; increasing risk of flooding in case of heavy rainfall; suspension of non-urgent surgeries at hospitals; and damage to agricultural livelihoods, primarily poultry farms.


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