Gaza: Clashes between Palestinian factions and Israeli forces, as well as Israeli airstrikes, resume after one month of relative calm; three armed Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were killed and eight Palestinian civilians were injured.
Thirty-two Bedouin families residing in a closed military area in the northern Jordan Valley were ordered to leave to enable Israeli forces to conduct military training; structures were demolished during the forced eviction of four of the families. On 6 June, all the families returned to their original site.
Power cuts throughout the Gaza Strip remain as high as 12 hours per day, disrupting delivery of basic services and daily life in Gaza. As of 6 June, the Power Plant had completely shut down due to lack of fuel, triggering power cuts of up to 16 hours per day throughout the Gaza Strip. Fuel contributed by the Qatari government entered Israel from Egypt via the Nitzana Crossing on 7 June. The same day, around 151,700 liters of fuel entered Gaza via the Kerem Shalom Crossing, enabling the plant to resume operating one turbine.
Injuries during protests and clashes continue; Bedouin communities affected by settler violence
A number of demonstrations held on 5 June, commemorating the 45th anniversary of the Israeli occupation, culminated in clashes with Israeli forces, mainly at Qalandiya checkpoint (Jerusalem) and next to Ofer prison (Ramallah). As a result, ten Palestinians were injured.
Most of the remaining injuries this week (32) were sustained during a weekly demonstration in Kafr Qaddum village (Qalqiliya) against the prohibition on the use of the main road connecting the village to Nablus City and to agricultural land in the vicinity of the nearby Qedumim settlement. The main road has been reserved for Israeli settlers’ use since 2002. Four other Palestinians were injured in two weekly demonstrations protesting the expansion of Hallamish settlement on private land belonging to residents of Nabi Saleh village, and against the construction of the Barrier on Bil’in village’s land, both in the Ramallah governorate. In addition, Israeli forces shot and injured a Palestinian man in the stomach, after he stabbed and injured an Israeli soldier with a tent stake inside the Old City of Hebron.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces
Injured this week: 48; 45 in demonstrations
Of whom children: 3
Injured in 2012: 1,459
2012 weekly average of injured: 67
2011 weekly average of injured: 28
Search-and-arrest operations by Israeli forces this week: 84
A number of settler attacks were reported during the week, all of which resulted in damage to Palestinian property, with no injuries recorded. In one of the incidents, Israeli settlers damaged water pipes that supply five Bedouin communities in the Khan al Ahmar area in the Jerusalem periphery. This has affected the provision of drinking water for 100 families and over 2,000 heads of livestock. The families filed a report with the Israeli police, which questioned a number of settlers and took photos of the damage. The Khan al Ahmar communities are among 20 communities in the Jerusalem periphery at risk of being transferred from the area. in the context of an Israeli “relocation” plan. Much of the affected area is planned for the expansion of the Ma’ale Adummim settlement (the so-called E-1 plan). In another Bedouin community in the Tubas governorate, Khirbet Tana, Israeli settlers damaged a Palestinian-plated vehicle and clashed with a group of Palestinian farmers; Israeli forces intervened and arrested five Palestinians.
Reports from Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah) and At Tuwani community (Hebron) indicated that settlers uprooted around 60 almond trees and set fire to three dunums of land planted with barley, respectively. In the latter incident, the Israeli DCL indicated that there is no evidence that the settlers set fire to the land. This week, an equivalent of ten truckloads of red soil and stones from privately-owned land next to Deir Istiya (Salfit) were removed and transported to the nearby settlement of Yaqir. Also, settlers sprayed anti-Arab graffiti on tombstones in an Islamic cemetery in East Jerusalem. In addition, two settlers, including a seven-year-old child, sustained injuries in two incidents when Palestinians stoned Israeli-plated cars near the villages of Ni’lin (Ramallah) and Khursa (Hebron).
Also this week, Israeli forces prevented Palestinian farmers from cultivating their land in the vicinity of Teqoa’ settlement outpost (Bethlehem) in two incidents, due to a lack of prior coordination. During one of the incidens, Israeli forces fired tear gas canisters towards the farmers, forcing them out of the area.
Settler-related incidents resulting in injuries or property damage:
This week: 5
2012 weekly average: 6
2011 weekly average: 8
Palestinians injuries by settler violence:
This week: 0
Injured in 2012: 63
2011 weekly average: 4
Israeli settlers injured by Palestinians:
This week: 2
Injured in 2012: 19
Injured in 2011: 37
Communities in the Jordan Valley affected by demolitions and evictions
In the early morning hours of 5 June, the Israeli authorities issued immediate eviction orders against four families (comprising 25 people, including 9 children) in the Hammamat al Maleh-al Meiteh community in the Jordan Valley, in an area designated as a closed military zone for training, or “firing zone”, in advance of military training in the area. The families were ordered to immediately dismantle their structures and relocate to an area some 500 meters from their original site. The Israeli authorities demolished three of the structures, while the families were forced to dismantle at least four structures. A day before, 28 other families from the same community, as well as from the nearby Hammamat al Maleh al Burj and ‘Ein al Hilwa/ Wad al Faw area were verbally informed that they are to relocate, on the same grounds. These families moved without dismantling their structures. On 6 June, the families returned to their original site. Some 56 percent of the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area are designated as a “firing zone” or closed military areas, with around 3,400 people residing partially or fully in these closed areas consequently facing a high risk of forced eviction.
Also in the northern Jordan Valley, the Israeli authorities demolished three animal shacks in the community of Bardala on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits, affecting the livelihoods of around 30 people. While this week recorded one of the lowest numbers of demolitions implemented since the beginning of 2012, the weekly average of demolitions in 2012 is 15 percent higher than the weekly average in 2011.
Palestinian-owned structures demolished in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem
Demolished: at least 10
Demolished in 2012: at least 307
Of which residences: 95
People displaced in 2012: 508
2012 vs. 2011 demolitions (weekly av.): 14 vs. 12
2012 vs. 2011 people displaced (weekly av.): 23 vs. 21
Access of fire brigades to a community behind the Barrier delayed
In two incidents on 22 and 29 May, the Israeli authorities delayed the access of Palestinian Fire Brigades to the Khirbet Jubara village (Tulkarm), located in the closed area between the Barrier and the Green Line, for about 30 minutes in each case. The brigades were summoned following the outbreak of fires on land planted with olive trees. According to the Palestinian Civil Defense’ assessment, delays further exacerbated the damages, with at least 1,700 dunums set on fire and around 850 olive trees damaged.
The access of ambulances and civil defense forces to areas behind the Barrier requires prior coordination with the Israeli authorities. While the existing mechanism, including prior coordination, is supposed to facilitate smooth access, in practice, delays of emergency vehicles at Barrier gates and checkpoints are frequently reported. Except in East Jerusalem, Palestinian communities in the closed area behind the Barrier depend to a large extent on emergency services located in the rest of the West Bank.
New escalation of violence results in civilian injuries
Following five weeks of relative calm, a new round of armed clashes and air strikes resulted in casualties and damage to property.
The escalation started when an armed Palestinian clashed with Israeli troops patrolling the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip. As a result, the armed Palestinian and one Israeli soldier were killed. In the wake of the incident, the Israeli air force launched a number of air strikes inside Gaza, striking a motorcycle carrying militants east of Khan Younis, and hitting a house inside Nuseirat refugee camp (after midnight), a dairy factory in Az Zeitoun quarter and two animal farms in Beit Lahyia and Rafah. Consequently, eight Palestinian civilians, including four children (aged between 4 months and 17 years), were injured, in addition to the killing of two armed Palestinians and the injury of another one. Dozens of sheep and chickens were killed and a number of houses sustained damages. Palestinian factions continued firing projectiles towards southern Israel, causing no injuries or damage to property.
Palestinian casualties by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip:
Killed this week: 3
Killed in 2012: 32
Injured this week: 9
Injured in 2012: 174
2012 weekly average of injured: 8
2011 weekly average of injured: 9
The Israeli army continues to restrict Palestinian access to land near the fence and to fishing areas beyond three-nautical miles from the shore. In this context, Israeli forces opened fire towards Palestinian areas in the vicinity of the fence on at least three occasions, setting wheat crops on fire. Also, this week Israeli forces launched at least two incursions inside the Gaza Strip, arresting a Palestinian man. Similarly, on five occasions the Israeli navy opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. Four fishermen were forced to swim towards the navy’s boats and were taken to Israel for interrogation.
Power and fuel shortages continue to disrupt life of majority of Gazan population
The Gaza Strip has been affected by power cuts as high as 12 hours per day almost since the beginning of the year, as the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) continues to produce at only one-third of its capacity (25 megawatts (MW) out of 80 MW), due to the lack of fuel supply. Limited amounts of fuel are supplied to Gaza through the tunnels under the Egypt-Gaza border (25 percent below pre-December 2011 levels, prior to the fuel crisis). To compensate for the ongoing fuel shortage, Gaza private companies are importing fuel, including petrol and diesel, from Israel, although the price of fuel purchased from Israel is more than double the price of that transferred from Egypt. According to the Gas Stations Owners Association (GSOA), almost all 180 fuel stations throughout the Gaza Strip are only partially open due to the lack of fuel, with reports of long queues at the stations.
Movement of goods (Kerem Shalom Crossing)
Weekly average of truckloads (TL) entered this week: 1,029
TL carrying food: 40%
Weekly average of TL since the beginning of 2012: 1,000
Weekly average of TL before the blockade: 2,807
Truckloads this week: 3
Weekly average since the beginning of 2012: 7 Weekly average before the blockade: 240
Please note that the figures in this report are subject to changes upon the receipt of additional information.
For more information, please contact Mai Yassin at email@example.com or +972 (0)2 5829962.