Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip continue, resulting in the injury of one Palestinian civilian this week.
The Israeli authorities demolished two houses in East Jerusalem and Area C, displacing two families of 15 people.
Ten injured in settlement-related protests
Ten Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in protests against settlement-related measures. Of those, seven Palestinians were injured during weekly demonstrations against the closure of the main entrance to Kafr Qaddum village, next to Qedumim settlement in Qalqiliya; and the expansion of Hallamish settlement and the construction of the Barrier in Bil’in village in Ramallah. Three other Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli forces that took place while the residents of Beit Ummar village (Hebron) were commemorating the 2011 killing of a Palestinian from the village by settlers. A soldier was also injured by stones. In addition, two Palestinians were injured when a driver lost control of his car, while they were trying to flee an area where Israeli settlers and Israeli forces had gathered, in the vicinity of Eli settlement (Nablus).
This week, only one settler attack resulting in property damage was recorded, compared to a weekly average of five since the beginning of the year and eight in 2011. On 24 January, Israeli settlers from Eli settlement raided the village of Al Lubban Asharqiya (Nablus) at night and damaged one house. The family residing in the house, which is located near the settlement, reports repeated attacks by settlers.
Also this week, Israeli authorities shut down two institutions, including a charitable society and a football club, in Silwan neigborhhood in East Jerusalem, for 30 days, due to the alleged affiliation of these institutions with Hamas.
Demolition of two residences results in displacement of 15 people
This week, three Palestinian-owned residential structures were demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C of the West Bank, on the grounds that they lacked of Israeli-issued building permits.
In East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities demolished a residential structure, which was home to a family comprising seven members in Beit Hanina; and a room, which was an extension to a house in Shu’fat. Overall in 2011, over 40 structures, half of which were residences, were demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing more than 80 people.
Another house was demolished in the Umm Al Kheir herding community (Hebron) in Area C, displacing a mother and her seven children. Also this week, the Israeli authorities distributed demolition and stop-work orders against 15 houses, a road under construction, and a collection of solar panels in the Salfit, Jenin, Hebron and Jerusalem governorates.
Access restrictions result in injury of one Palestinian civilian
This week, a number of violent incidents were recorded in the access restricted areas of the Gaza Strip. On 22 January, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian civilian while he was present inside the restricted area, approximately one-kilometer from the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, outside the 300-meter “no go zone” unilaterally-imposed by the Israeli authorities. In five additional incidents, Israeli forces opened fire towards farmers in the vicinity of the fence and fishermen at sea, forcing them to flee the areas. All the incidents occurred in the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence and beyond three nautical miles from the shore.
In addition, a Palestinian house in the Shejaeya area of Gaza City sustained minor damage after catching fire as a result of flare lights launched by Israeli forces. These lights are repeatedly fired into the air during regular night patrols of the access restricted areas.
This week, no Israeli air strike was reported. Palestinian armed factions fired a number of rockets targeting southern Israel, resulting in no injuries or damage to property.
Tunnels claim one life
On 25 January, a Palestinian worker was killed in a tunnel accident, when a large quantity of gravel fell on him. In 2012, two workers have been killed and another three injured as a result of tunnel-related incidents. Overall in 2011, 36 Palestinians were killed and 54 others injured in tunnel-related incidents, including air strikes, tunnel collapses and electrocution. Tunnels remain the main source for the transfer of certain goods, including construction materials that are restricted through the official crossings with Israel, as well as fuel that is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.
Gaza exports remain limited to certain agricultural produce
Between 22 and 28 January, five truckloads of agricultural produce were exported from Gaza to international markets. These included three truckloads of strawberries (8 tonnes) and two truckloads of cut flowers (225,000 stems). Since the beginning of the agricultural season in late November 2011, over 135 truckloads of such products were permitted to exit Gaza, an exception to the general prohibition on Gaza exports implemented by Israel since 2007. Exports to Gaza’s traditional main markets in Israel and the West Bank remain prohibited.