26 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces
Israeli forces injured 26 Palestinians, the majority of them in a weekly demonstration in the Ramallah area during the reporting period. Since the beginning of 2010, Israeli forces have injured 1,028 Palestinians, up nearly 73 percent from the similar period in 2009 (747 injuries).
Twenty-three Palestinians were injured in a weekly demonstration against the expansion of the Hallamish settlement (Ramallah governorate) when Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters to disperse protestors. An Israeli border policeman was injured by a stone. Also in the Ramallah area, a Palestinian was injured in a weekly protest against the construction of the Barrier in Bil’in village. Approximately 30 percent of Palestinian injuries by Israeli forces in 2010 are as a result of clashes during weekly demonstrations against the Barrier, settlement expansion and access restrictions.
Two further Palestinians, including a 17-year-old boy, were injured in two separate confrontations that took place between Palestinians and Israeli forces; one during the demolition of a mechanics workshop in the Beit Hanina neighborhood of East Jerusalem (also see demolition section below); and another when Israeli forces attempted to occupy the roof of a house during a search and arrest operation in Al Baqa’a area near Hebron City.
This week, Israeli forces conducted over 100 search and arrest operations in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), compared to a weekly average of 93 such operations in 2010. In one of these raids, Israeli forces imposed a 13-hour-long curfew on Madama village (Nablus governorate) and erected a flying checkpoint at the entrance of the village obstructing the movement of an estimated population of 1,800 people. Also this week, an unexploded ordnance device (UXO) exploded inside a building formerly used by Palestinian security forces in Tubas City. No injuries were reported, however, two houses and one car sustained damage. This same building was severely damaged during Israeli incursions into the city in 2002.
Settler violence continues
This week, OCHA recorded three settler-related incidents that resulted in Palestinian injuries or damage to Palestinian property, a significant decrease compared to previous weeks as well as the weekly average of incidents since the beginning of 2010 (6).
In one incident, Israeli settlers from the settlement of Massu’a clashed with Palestinians in the nearby Bedouin community of Abu Al Ajaj in Al Jiftlik village (Jericho governorate), injuring five of them. The confrontations erupted for the third time in two weeks after settlers attempted to fence in around 46 dunums of land belonging to the community. In a separate incident, a group of five to seven armed settlers, allegedly from the settlements of Nahliel and Hallamish, entered the Beitillu village (Ramallah governorate), cut off water network pipes used for irrigation, damaged some equipment and stole electricity generators. During the incident the assailants assaulted and injured an elderly man when he tried to prevent them from burning a greenhouse.
Also this week, 17 farmers from the Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya governorate) reported that when they accessed their olive groves located next to the Qeddumim settlement, for the first time in several months, most of the trees were already harvested, while the branches of 250 trees were found damaged. Similarly to other areas in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, access to this area is allowed only for a few days a year and requires ‘prior coordination’ with the Israeli army. In the village of Susiya (Hebron governorate), Israeli forces prevented villagers and international activists from picking olives on land located in the vicinity of the nearby settlement. This incident occurred despite the ‘prior coordination’ the villagers had arranged with the Israeli army. Since the beginning of October, OCHA recorded a weekly average of nine incidents in the in the context of the olive harvest resulting in injuries and severe damage to property, including the uprooting and burning of thousands of trees.
In the Qalqiliya area, Israeli settlers from the settlement outpost of El Matan placed cement blocks and earth mounds on a number of agricultural roads next to the village of Kafr Thulth, forcing farmers to access their land by foot.
Demolitions and issuance of demolition and eviction orders continue
The Jerusalem Municipality demolished 11 Palestinian-owned structures in the East Jerusalem neighbourhoods of Al ‘Isawiya, Beit Hanina and At Tur, due to the lack of building permits, following three weeks without demolitions in the area. In Al ‘Isawiya, nine agricultural buildings were demolished, along with a barbed-wire fence. These structures belonged to ten farmers, who reported that all their agricultural tools were damaged and that 400 trees (mainly olive trees) were uprooted in the course of the demolitions. A mechanics workshop was demolished in Beit Hanina and a carpentry workshop was demolished in At Tur. The demolition of both workshops affected the livelihood of 16 people and resulted in losses of thousands of Israeli shekels. To date in 2010, 50 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in East Jerusalem (including seven structures demolished by their owners following demolition orders). A total of 47 people have been displaced and about 190 people have been otherwise affected.
In Area C of the West Bank, the Israeli authorities demolished four rain-harvesting wells in the village of Deir Abu D'ief (Jenin governorate) as they were constructed without permits. These wells, along with many others, were constructed five years ago to supply water to Deir Abu D’ief village and to two nearby villages (Beit Qad and Faqu’a). The Israeli authorities also issued demolition and stop-work orders in the Hebron area against three structures, including a traditional oven in Umm Al Kheir, and two toilets in the herder community of Susiya. Since January 2010, 265 Palestinian owned structures have been demolished in Area C of the West Bank. A total of 355 Palestinians, including 177 children, have been displaced. During the same period in 2009, 186 structures were demolished and 319 people were displaced.
Also in Area C in the Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities issued eviction orders against seven residential tents and five animal shelters in the Bedouin communities of Khirbet Ar Ras Al Ahmar (Tubas governorate) on 31 October. A total of nine families (35 people) are affected. In both cases, the orders are given on the grounds that the structures are located in a closed military area. The orders indicated that the families should evacuate the area in 24 days. So far, no evacuation has taken place.
One Palestinian killed and four others injured near the Gaza fence
During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed an armed Palestinian man and injured four civilians in five separate incidents near the fence dividing Israel and the Gaza Strip. To date in 2010, 55 Palestinians, including 22 civilians, have been killed, and 220 others, including 195 civilians, injured in the context of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip. Over 70 percent of the deaths and above 60 percent of the injuries have taken place near the fence.
On 27 October, an armed Palestinian man was killed when Israeli forces fired mortar shells targeting a group of armed Palestinians, who were reportedly attempting to plant an improvised explosive device (IED) near the fence in the Beit Hanoun area (Northern Gaza). A house in the vicinity also sustained damage from another mortar shell; no injuries were reported. In four separate incidents this week, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian workers collecting scrap metal, injuring three of them. A mentally disabled man was injured when he reportedly approached the fence. On five different occasions, Israeli bulldozers and tanks launched incursions a few hundred meters into the Gaza Strip and withdrew after conducting land leveling. Incidents near the fence continue to take place mainly in the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas located up to 1,500 meters (17 percent of Gaza’s territory) from the fence.
Israel continues to bar access to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore. In four separate incidents, Israeli naval forces opened ‘warning’ fire at Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore.
Palestinian armed factions launched a number of rockets and mortar shells at southern Israel, including at military bases located along the border. There were no reported Israeli injuries or damage to property.
Restrictions on entry of major construction materials remain in place
Despite an overall increase in Gaza imports since the easing of the blockade (on 20 June 2010), the Israeli ban on the entry of construction materials continues, with the exception of materials for a small number of projects supervised by international organizations. The largest constraint in the implementation of these projects is a shortage of gravel, due to the limited capacity of the conveyer belt at the Karni Crossing, the only facility used for the transfer of this item. This has resulted in significant delays, despite the availability of other materials transferred through the Kerem Shalom Crossing.
This week (24-30 October), a total of 985 truckloads entered Gaza, a decline of around 11 percent compared to the number of truckloads entering last week (1,104). This week's figure represents 35 percent of the weekly average of 2,807 truckloads that entered Gaza during the first five months of 2007 before the imposition of the blockade. Food items continue to make up the majority of goods entering Gaza (above 50 percent). Before the blockade, food items made up less than 20 percent of total imports.