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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
3 November 2014

Key issues

Tensions in East Jerusalem on the rise; Israeli forces kill Palestinian suspected of shooting and injuring an Israeli rabbi and settler leader.
33 structures demolished and 47 displaced in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.
Gaza crossings with Israel reopened after being shut down following the firing of a rocket from Gaza into southern Israel.
Following two days of partial operation, Gaza Power Plant (GPP) shuts down due to lack of fuel; Qatar is about to renew its support in funding fuel for the GPP.

Tensions and clashes in East Jerusalem continue

On 29 October, an Israeli rabbi and settler leader of the Temple Mount Heritage Foundation was shot and severely injured, reportedly by a 32-year-old Palestinian man from At Thuri neighborhood, in East Jerusalem. The latter is allegedly affiliated with the Islamic Jihad movement. Later that night, in the context of an arrest operation, Israeli forces killed the suspected perpetrator, during an exchange of fire with him, according to Israeli media.

This incident further fueled existing tensions and clashes across East Jerusalem which have been on the rise since the last summer. Since 1 July 2014, four Palestinian have been killed and 1,333 injured including 80 children by Israeli forces in East Jerusalem; during this period, three Israelis were killed and another 65, including 33 civilians, were injured by Palestinians in the same area.

This week, 98 Palestinians, including 23 children, were injured by Israeli forces. Two thirds of those were injured with rubber and metal-coated rubber bullets, including 14 children, and 12 people including four children, with live ammunition. According to Israeli media reports, two members of the Israeli forces were injured.

The majority of injuries (73, including 16 children) were recorded in clashes in the context of the above incident and took place in various locations in the Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Ramallah governorates. In one incident on 31 October, 12 Palestinians were injured in clashes that erupted when Israeli forces entered the mourning tent that was set up in the At Thuri area for the Palestinian man who was killed.

Three settler attacks against Palestinians; stone-throwing at Israeli-plated vehicles continues

Three incidents of settler violence were recorded this week, bringing the total number of incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property in 2014 to 278, compared to 367 in the equivalent period of 2013.

In one of the incidents, on 29 October, Israeli settlers from Qedumim settlement reportedly stole around 200 kilograms of olives harvested by farmers from Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya). The incident occurred after Israeli forces ordered the farmers to leave the land, during a time that was coordinated in advance. Since the beginning of the olive harvest season on 3 October, OCHA recorded 14 settler incidents affecting Palestinian farmers or their property compared to 21 during the same period in 2013. For the past several years, demonstrations in Kafr Qaddum have been held weekly in protest against the continuing closure of the village’s main eastern entrance, which separates them from their land, as well as against settlement expansion and the Israeli imposed coordination system for the farmers to enter their lands near Qedumim settlement.

According to Israeli media reports, in addition to the settler fatality reported above, there were a total of 17 incidents involving stone throwing by Palestinians towards Israeli vehicles and busses in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Five of the incidents resulted in injury to five Israelis, including a 70-year-old woman, and the remaining in damage to vehicles. Ten of the incidents took place in the Jerusalem governorate, three in the Bethlehem governorate and one in the Ramallah governorate. In addition, three incidents of stone throwing at the Jerusalem light train station near Shu’fat resulting in damage, were reported.

Rise in demolitions in East Jerusalem

During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished a total of 33 structures in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem due to lack of Israeli-issued building permits, bringing to 522 the number of structures demolished since the beginning of the year compared to 549 in the equivalent period of 2013. As a result at least 47 Palestinians, including 14 children, were displaced and around 60 others affected.

Out of the total, seventeen of the structures were demolished in East Jerusalem, displacing a total of 16 Palestinians, including nine children, and otherwise affecting 44 people. The structures, including three homes, were demolished in Salah ad Din Street (1), Silwan (6), Wadi al Joz (6), and the Sheikh Jarrah area (4). This brings the number of structures demolished in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year to 72.

According to media reports, the Israeli mayor of Jerusalem has recently ordered the municipality to strengthen ‘enforcement’ measures against Palestinians in East Jerusalem, including house demolitions for building without permits, with the objective of pressuring the Palestinian population to act against young demonstrators. At least one third of all Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem lack Israeli-issued building permits, which are near impossible to obtain, placing over 90,000 residents in chronic fear of demolition and displacement. Only 13 per cent of East Jerusalem is zoned for Palestinian construction, much of which is already built-up; 35 per cent has been confiscated for Israeli settlement use.

On 3 November, four structures (two animal barracks and two tents used as kitchens), were demolished in the Area C community of Arab ar Ramadin ash Shamali (Qalqilya) affecting a total of seven families. The community is located in an enclave, trapped between the Barrier and the Green Line. Currently around 11,000 Palestinians are isolated in such enclaves and face serious access restrictions, including to basic services.

On 28 October, Israeli forces demolished a baking oven (taboun) servicing the community of Um al Kheir, located in Area C, east of Yatta (Hebron). The oven was the only structure that was re-built following its demolition the previous day along with six residences, including one prefabricated structure donated by international donors through the Emergency Relief Fund (ERF).

Another four structures were demolished by Israeli forces on 3 November in Al Mu’arrajat East Bedouin community (Jericho) due to lack of building permits in Area C. As a result, two refugee families comprising seven Palestinians (including three children) were displaced. This is one of the Palestinian Bedouin communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem and in the central West Bank which are at risk of forcible transfer due to a “relocation” plan advanced by the Israeli authorities.

Israeli forces demolished three structures, including two residential, and caused damage to 1.5 kilometers of the road servicing the community of Tel al Khashaba (Nablus). The demolitions led to the displacement of a family of 11, including two women and seven children. In September 2014, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA) dismantled an electricity network installed in the community with the support of an international donor. In Khashem ad Daraj, five structures, including two-donor funded latrines, were demolished, displacing a family of eight including five children, and affecting 36 others. Both communities are located, along with 36 other communities, in areas designated as “firing zones” for military training and are affected by high levels of humanitarian need and continuous risk of forcible transfer.

In Khirbet Ras al Ahmar in the northern Jordan Valley, also located in a “firing zone”, Israeli forces conducted a military training on three consecutive days during the period, for the third consecutive week. The training took place from 12:00pm to 6:00am on the first two days and from 12:00pm to 12:00am on the third day. As a result, nine Palestinian families were temporarily displaced for the duration of the training. The ICA verbally informed community members that the training will take place according to the same schedule over the next six months.

In the same context, residents of the community of ‘Ibziq’ (Tubas) vacated their homes on 28 October for six hours, bringing to nine the number of times the community of 30 households was temporarily displaced due to Israeli military trainings this year. Between 2 and 3 November, additional military training, for which no orders were previously delivered, took place.

Earlier this year, a senior officer from the IDF Central Command confirmed that the frequency and scope of military trainings has increased dramatically in recent times, particularly in the Jordan Valley, and that such exercises contribute to the prevention of “illegal building.”


One rocket reportedly fired into Israel; war death-toll continues to grow

The ceasefire agreed on 26 August largely continues to hold. However, according to Israeli media reports, on 31 October, a rocket fired from Gaza landed in southern Israel, with no injuries or property damage reported.

During the reporting period, two Palestinians died of wounds sustained during the July-August hostilities. According to the latest figures provided by the Protection Cluster, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians during the conflict was 2,256, of whom at least 1,568 are believed to be civilians, including 538 Palestinian children and 306 women.

Also this week, on six occasions, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinians present in areas adjacent to Gaza’s perimeter fence, and also towards Palestinian fishing boats at sea. One of these cases, on 29 October, resulted in the injury of a 21-yearold Palestinian who was reportedly hunting birds at around 300 meters from the fence. Three other Palestinians were arrested during the week by Israeli forces, reportedly while attempting to infiltrate into Israel to search for job opportunities. At sea, in three incidents, Israeli naval forces opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats reportedly sailing within the Israeli declared 6-Nautical-Mile (NM) fishing limit, forcing them ashore; no injuries or property damage were reported.

Access restrictions to fishing areas beyond 6 NM from the coast, and to farming land approximately 300 meters from Gaza’s perimeter fence continues to undermine the fishery and agricultural sector in Gaza which is the primary source of income for thousands of fisherman and farmers and their families.

All Gaza Crossings closed

On 1 November 2014, the Israeli authorities closed down the two operational crossings between the Gaza Strip and Israel until further notice. This measure was announced as a response to the above-mentioned launching of a rocket into southern Israel. Since then and through the end of the reporting period, passage of people though the Erez Crossing was restricted to authorized humanitarian cases and foreign nationals only, while the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing was entirely shut down, except for limited amounts of fuel that entered on 3 November. According to the Israeli authorities, the crossing would be open during this period for other urgent supplies if needed. Between 2007 and 2010, Israel unilaterally closed Karni, Sufa and Nahal Oz commercial crossings leaving Gaza fully dependant on the Kerem Shalom crossing for goods traffic.

These developments further exacerbated the impact of the Egyptian authorities’ closure of the Rafah Crossing on 24 October, following an attack in the northern Egyptian City of Al Arish by unknown perpetrators, which claimed the lives of more than 30 Egyptian military personnel. In addition, since the first week of July, entry of the construction materials for the Qatari projects through Rafah in Gaza has not been permitted for unknown reasons. As a result three major infrastructure construction projects are suspended. Over 600 truckloads of supplies, including building materials urgently needed for the reconstruction of Gaza, have been prevented entry, and thousands of travelers are stranded in Gaza waiting to leave to the West Bank, Egypt and other destinations.

Prolonged power outages continue to take place across Gaza

On 28 October, following two days of partial operation, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) shut down completely due to lack of fuel. After seven consecutive weeks of not being in operation since its repair, the GPP resumed operation between 26 and 28 October, following the receipt of around 350,000 liters of diesel from the Palestinian Energy Authority. During these two days, the GPP worked at half capacity, generating around 60 megawatts (MWs) of electricity, which in turn, reduced the daily power outages from 18 to around 12 hours per day (to operate at half capacity, the GPP requires around 270,000 liters of fuel per day). The electricity shortages adversely impacted the delivery of essential services, including health, water, sanitation and schooling.

Thousands of families remain displaced

On 4 November, in his statement on the Gaza reconstruction mechanism, the United Nations Special Coordinator, Mr. Robert Serry, confirmed that the temporary Gaza reconstruction mechanism has commenced its operations, giving priority focus on making available reconstruction material for urgent shelter repairs and that on Monday 3 November, some 700 beneficiaries purchased construction material to start rehabilitating their homes.

Over 70,000 people whose homes were damaged or destroyed during the July-August hostilities remain displaced. Eighteen (18) UNRWA schools, in addition to a public school supported by UNRWA, continue for the second successive month, to serve as collective centers for approximately 32,400 internally displaced persons (IDPs). According to estimates provided by the Ministry of Social Affairs in Gaza, between 40,000 and 50,000 IDPs are believed to continue living with host families or in makeshift accommodations. The Shelter Cluster estimates that over 100,000 homes were damaged or destroyed in the recent conflict, affecting more than 600,000 people. Up until 3 November, displaced families have not been able to rebuild or repair their homes due to the long-standing restrictions on the import of construction materials and the dire economic situation. With the rain season starting, many IDPs, particularly those living with host families or in the makeshift accommodations, are requiring additional humanitarian assistance including clothing, winter blankets, and heaters.

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