This week, one Palestinian civilian was killed and around 190 Palestinians injured throughout the oPt in protests commemorating the 36th anniversary of Land Day.
Serious concerns continue over the lack of electricity in the Gaza Strip, with power cuts reaching 18 hours per day for the past eight consecutive days. The delivery of vital services and the daily lives of 1.6 million people are significantly disrupted.
A Palestinian died of wounds he sustained by Israeli fire; multiple injuries on the occasion of Land Day
On 2 April, a 26-year-old Palestinian man died of wounds he sustained on 26 March, after he was shot by Israeli forces during a military operation in Rammun village (Ramallah) (see previous weekly report for details). Another 4-year-old girl died on 3 April of wounds she sustained on 25 October last year by live ammunition in ‘Anata village (Jerusalem). Circumstances around the initial shooting remain under dispute; according to the family, Israeli military were conducting training in a nearby area, however, Israeli forces said they are not the perpetrators.
A total of 172 Palestinians were injured in demonstrations throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, to commemorate Land Day on 30 March. The bulk of injuries (108) occurred in East Jerusalem, including in the Old City and surrounding neighbourhoods (22), and at the Qalandiya checkpoint (86). The remaining injuries (64) were sustained in protests in the villages of Kafr Qaddum (Tulkarm), ‘Iraq Burin (Nablus), Beit Ummar (Hebron), and Deir Nidham (Ramallah) and in Bethlehem City. Also, 29 Palestinians were arrested during the protests and three Palestinian ambulances incurred damage at Qalandiya. In addition, two international and Israeli activists and two Israeli policemen were injured in the protests. Also, an Israeli was injured when a Palestinian attacked him with an axe in East Jerusalem.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces:
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces:
Killed this week: 1
Killed in 2012: 3
Killed in 2011: 11
Injured this week: 174; 172 in demonstrations
Of whom were children: 2
Injured in 2012: 582
2012 weekly average of injured: 43
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations this week: 98
Also this week, three Palestinians were injured in settler-related incidents, including two Palestinians physically assaulted and injured by settlers in Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood in East Jerusalem, and a shepherd physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces, who intervened after settlers clashed with shepherds grazing their sheep near Yitzhar settlement (Nablus).
Two settlers were injured this week when Palestinians stoned their cars while driving on road 443 and in At Tur neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. Settlers vandalized 250 olive trees planted near the Hagay settlement belonging to Ar Rihiya village (Hebron).
On 1 April, the Israeli authorities deported the Palestinian prisoner Hana’ Shalabi to Gaza for three years, after reaching a deal to end her hunger strike, which had lasted for 44 days. Over 20 Palestinian prisoners are currently on hunger strike in protest at their imprisonment without charge or trial under administrative detention.
Settlers took over a Palestinian house in Hebron; another house threatened in East Jerusalem following a court order
Also this week, Israeli settlers took over a vacant apartment in a Palestinian residential building on 29 March near the Ibrahimi Mosque / “The Cave of the Patriarchs”, in the Old City of Hebron, part of the Israeli-controlled portion of the city (H2). Israeli forces subsequently ordered the settlers to evacuate the house and it was evacuated by Israeli forces on 4 April. In response, settlers set fire to a protest tent erected to protest settler violence and stoned three Palestinian houses. The ownership of the building is still disputed in an Israeli court. Also in the Old City of Hebron, Israeli forces evacuated settlers from a Palestinian house in the Old City of Hebron following a court decision, however, settlers continue to access the house.
This week, Israeli settlers, accompanied by Israeli police, attempted on a number of occasions to forcefully enter the homes of a Palestinian family in the Beit Hanina neighbourhood of East Jerusalem. The Israeli police also conducted a search of the contents of one of the apartments, damaging furniture and leading to the arrest one of the residents. These incidents come in the context of a protracted legal battle about ownership of the land on which the houses are located. While an Israeli court has ruled that the families should be evicted, they continue to legally challenge the rulings. Two of the affected families were evacuated in late February, displacing nine people, including five children. Two remaining families remain at risk of displacement, affecting 14 people, including six children. Since the beginning of March, Israeli settlers have come to the family home on five occasions demanding that they evacuate and attempting to forcefully enter the house.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 4
2012 weekly average: 5.4
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 35
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 3
Injured in 2012: 9
Total in 2011: 21
Khirbet Tana community in the Jordan Valley experiences a third wave of demolition in 2012
The Israeli authorities demolished 16 Palestinian-owned structures in the Jordan Valley herding community of Khirbet Tana and in Al Khader village (Bethlehem) due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits.
In Khirbet Tana, Israeli forces dismantled or confiscated seven residential tents, three animal shelters, and two water tanks donated by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC).
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished: 16, including 7 residences
Displaced: 33, including 11 children
Demolished in 2012: 184
People displaced in 2012: 388
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 14 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 29vs. 21
Six families consisting of 33 people (10 percent of the population), including 11 children, were displaced. This is the third wave of demolitions that the community has experienced since the beginning of 2012, and the sixth since January 2011, resulting in the destruction of a total of 123 structures, some of which were demolished and re-built multiple times. Around 290 people have been forcibly displaced and the majority of families have been displaced more than once.
Also this week, one water cistern, two agricultural structures, and a network of 55 electric pylons were demolished in Al Khadr, Bethlehem governorate. The livelihoods of 98 people were affected. In addition, Israeli forces issued 13 stop-work orders against nine residential structures and four water collection structures in Khirbet Zanuta community (Hebron).
Israeli forces also leveled ten dunums of privately-owned Palestinian land in Husan (Bethlehem) to install electric poles for the use of Betar Illit settlement and uprooted 80 olive trees in Susiya (Hebron) claiming that the land is “state land”.
Easing of movement in northern West Bank; 5 closures in place for ten years removed
During the reporting period, Israeli forces implemented a number of steps to ease Palestinian movement in four locations in the Nablus and Tulkarm governorates. In Nablus, a road gate at the entrance to Beit Dajan and an earth mound at the entrance of Zawata village were removed. Residents of Beit Dajan (estimated at 4,000) now have direct access to Nablus City for the first time since 2000 and Zawata residents can access their agricultural land for the first time since 2002. Also near Nablus City, most of the structures of At Tur checkpoint, which until recently has allowed passage to Nablus City only to residents of the Samaritan community (300 people), were removed and soldiers ceased staffing the checkpoint. This facilitates movement of the population into and out of Nablus City and also allows for the implementation of development projects in the Samaritan community.
In Tulkarm, a road block was removed and a gate opened, which have hampered access between Shufa and ‘Izbat Shufa (estimated population of 2,700), and between the villages and Tulkarm City since 2002. This means that residents no longer need to make a 22 kilometer detour to reach the city from their villages crossing the ‘Enav checkpoint en route. There are still around 540 closures throughout the West Bank, the bulk of which hinder access between rural communities and their main cities.
Three Palestinians killed and 42 others injured
After two weeks of relative calm in the Gaza Strip, this week Israeli forces shot and killed a 19-year-old Palestinian civilian, and injured 42 others, including 18 children. The casualties occurred during two protests organized by Palestinians near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip inside the ‘no go’ zone to commemorate the Land Day on 30 March.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 3
Killed in 2012: 31
Injured this week: 42
Of whom were children: 18
Injured in 2012: 142
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
In another incident near the fence on 3 April, Israeli forces opened fire and fired tank shells at areas east of Jabaliya. The following day, a Palestinian medical team evacuated the dead body of a 17-year-old child who was killed reportedly as a result of the Israeli shelling. Also on 1 April, Israeli troops shot and killed an armed Palestinian man near the fence close to Al Bureij Refugee Camp, while he was reportedly attempting to plant an explosive device. The body was later found by Israeli forces conducting an incursion some 150-300 meters inside the Gaza Strip. Also this week, the Israeli Air Force dropped pamphlets inside the ‘no go’ zone, re-iterating that Palestinians are not allowed in the area between 0-300 meters from the fence with Israel. UN research into the access restricted areas has indicated that the ‘no go’ zone is enforced up to 500 meters from the fence. Israeli forces continue to enforce restrictions to areas up to 1,500 meters from the fence, and to fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore by opening warning fire at people present in these areas.
A number of projectiles were fired by Palestinian armed factions at southern Israel and military bases located close the fence separating Gaza and Israel. There were no injuries or damage to property.
One killed and two injured in tunnel-related incidents
On 2 April, a Palestinian worker was killed after he fell inside a tunnel under the Gaza-Egypt border, and another two were injured when a tunnel collapsed while they were working inside it. In 2012, four workers were killed and another eight 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 collapse 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 which is significantly cheaper to buy from Egypt than from Israel.
Four injured by UXOs
On 31 March, four Palestinians were injured by unexploded ordnance (UXOs) when an unknown object exploded while they were gathering scrap metal in the Rafah area. Since the beginning of 2012 in Gaza, one child has been killed and 15 others injured, including seven children.
Power Plant remains shut down due to the lack of fuel; three children reportedly died in an electricity-related incident
The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) has remained shut for the last eight days due to the lack of fuel entering Gaza through the tunnels, triggering daily power cuts of up to 18 hours per day. On 1 April, three children, aged 4, 5 and 7, died of burns they sustained after their house (in Deir El Balah area) caught fire reportedly from candles used during power outages. According to local authorities in Gaza, there were around 85 cases of fires reported throughout the Gaza Strip in January and February this year, as people are using generators and candles to compensate for the lack of electricity.
Power outages continue to have severe humanitarian consequences on the population, disrupting the daily life of 1.6 million Gazans as well as the delivery of public services, including hospitals and water and wastewater treatment plants. The Coastal Municipalities Water Utility (CMWU) reported that by end of March 2012, fuel stocks (120,000 litres) provided by the Islamic Development Bank (IDB) and required to run the temporary back-up power generators were exhausted, rendering approximately 50 percent of water wells (out of 190 wells) in the Gaza Strip out of fuel. The actual fuel needed to cover deficiencies for both water and wastewater facilities is 300,000 liters and 180,000 liters per month, respectively. As a result, 50 percent of the Gaza Strip’s population receive running water supply for six to eight hours once every four days only; 30 percent receive water for six to eight hours once every three days only; 15 percent once every two days onlyfor six to eight hours; and five percent for six to eight hours once a day.
Hospitals continue to rely heavily on temporary back-up power generators that are dependent on the availability of fuel and spare parts and are vulnerable to breakdowns. On 2 April, the ICRC provided a shipment of fuel (150,000 liters) to the 13 MoH hospitals in Gaza, enough to cover the needs for approximately two weeks. All hospitals need almost 1,000 liters of fuel to operate their generators for one hour at a time.
This week, on average, less than 140,000 liters of fuel entered through the tunnels each day compared to 800,000 - 1,000,000 liters during the previous months, including up to 400,000 liters of diesel designated to the GPP. This leaves almost all 180 fuel stations in the Gaza Strip closed due to fuel shortages. Additional amounts of fuel were purchased this week from Israel by the private sector (including 120,600 liters of petrol and 115,000 liters of diesel), costing more than double the price of fuel purchased from Egypt.
Cooking gas shortages
Cooking gas amounts entering Gaza via Kerem Shalom remain low, representing around 47 percent of the weekly needs (566 vs. 1,200 tonnes). According to the GSOA, due to the shortage, cooking gas is rationed in the 28 gas stations in Gaza, with almost all of them reported either closed or operating for only a few hours during the week. The reasons for these reduced amounts remain unclear. Shortages of cooking gas, compounded by a shortage of power and fuel, are leaving Gaza’s population with insufficient amounts of energy to meet their daily needs.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing):
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 954
TL carrying food: 43%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of 2012: 972
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 4
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 10 Weekly average before the blockade: 240