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

Key issues
Four Israeli civilians and a policeman killed in a synagogue in West Jerusalem.
297 Palestinians injured in clashes with Israeli forces, the majority in East Jerusalem.
Special Rapporteurs call on Israel to end punitive demolitions.
One Palestinian killed and two others injured in the Access Restricted Areas in Gaza.
Rafah Crossing remains closed for more than a month; over 6,000 Palestinians unable to return to Gaza.

Five Israelis killed in an attack by Palestinians in West Jerusalem

On 18 November, two Palestinian men entered a synagogue in West Jerusalem and killed with a gun and a knife, five Israeli men, including a policeman, and injured 12 others, including another policeman. The perpetrators, later identified as cousins who reside in the Jabal Al Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem, were killed in an exchange of fire at the scene. According to Palestinian media reports, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine claimed responsibility for the attack.

This incident triggered a series of attacks by Israelis against Palestinians in East Jerusalem and elsewhere in the West Bank (see Settler Violence section), as well as reports about new punitive measures, already implemented or planned, by the Israeli authorities citing security and deterrence needs.

In addition, according to Israeli media sources, there were another five Palestinian attacks against settlers and other Israelis in East Jerusalem during the week. These include the stabbing, and in one case beating with an iron rod, of three Israelis in At Tur area and in the Old City of East Jerusalem, in addition to a settlement guard, who was injured with glass shrapnel that was thrown towards him by Palestinians, also in the Old City of Jerusalem.

Attacks by West Bank Palestinians against Israelis, primarily in East and West Jerusalem, have been on the rise since June 2014. During the nearly six months since June 2014, a total of 13 Israelis, including two members of the security forces, have been killed, and another 108, including 48 members of the security forces, were injured. This compares to a total of four fatalities and 209 injuries in the 17 months between January 2013 and May 2014.

297 Palestinian civilians injured, the majority in East Jerusalem

In addition to the two Palestinians killed in the context of the aforementioned attack, Israeli forces injured 297 Palestinians including 26 children, in various incidents and clashes across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The number of Palestinian injuries increased compared to the previous reporting period (212 injuries), and continues to rise above the weekly average (115) since the beginning of 2014.

As has been the case in recent weeks, the majority of Palestinian casualties (272) were recorded in the Jerusalem governorate during multiple protests most notably in Jabal al Mukabbir (89), Al ‘Ezariya (53), Silwan (29), and Shu’fat Refugee Camp (21). The majority of clashes took place in the context of concerns over potential changes in the access arrangements to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and other Israeli measures enforced in East Jerusalem.

One of the largest clashes in this context, occurred on 20 November in Al ‘Eizariya town, just outside East Jerusalem, resulting in the injury of 53 Palestinians, including three by live ammunition, and the rest due to severe tear gas inhalation and rubber bullets.

Also the vast majority of Palestinian arrests, 86 out of a total of 100, were recorded in the Jerusalem governorate. Thirty percent of Palestinians arrests in the West Bank since the beginning of the year were in the Jerusalem governorate.

Also this week, on 23 November, a 43-year-old Palestinian shepherd died of injuries sustained earlier on the same day, when an unexploded ordnance (UXO) exploded while he was grazing his sheep in an Israeli declared “firing zone” west of Bardala village (Tubas) in the northern Jordan Valley. The man was transported by Israeli forces to an Israeli hospital by helicopter.

Israeli Border policeman indicted for killing a child on May 2014

This week, according to Israeli media reports, the Israeli authorities indicted an Israeli border policeman for shooting with live ammunition and killing a 17–year-old Palestinian on 15 May 2014, during a protest.

This is the second case of an investigation into the killing of a Palestinian by Israeli forces that leads to a prosecution, since Israel began implementing a new investigation policy in April 2011. According to this policy, every case in which an ‘uninvolved’ Palestinian civilian is killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank, a criminal investigation will be opened, unless the incident ‘occurred during an activity with clear elements of combat’. The vast majority of such investigations, however, was closed without indictment, or remains open.

Rise in settler violence following Palestinian attack in West Jerusalem

Eleven incidents of settler violence were recorded this week, including six incidents resulting in injury to 14 Palestinians, bringing the total number of incidents resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to their property in 2014 to 304, compared to 389 in the equivalent period of 2013.

During the week, six Palestinians were physically assaulted or stabbed by groups of settlers and other Israelis in separate incidents, reportedly in retaliation for the synagogue attack. Five of the incidents occurred in East Jerusalem, including a man who was stabbed and another beaten near Bab al Amud/ Damascus Gate area; a 19-year-old who was attacked in the French Hill settlement on his way back from work; and a 57-year-old woman, who was attacked inside her house in Silwan on 23 November by an Israeli female settler, who broke into her house and sprayed her in the face with pepper spray.

In one incident on 18 November, five Palestinians, including three children, were injured by a group of settlers who hurled stones at students and teachers at the Urif Boys Secondary School, triggering clashes near the school. Israeli forces intervened by firing tear gas and rubber bullets injuring two Palestinians.

Additionally, four incidents involving stone throwing by Israeli settlers towards Palestinian vehicles, and in one incident at Palestinian houses, were recorded in the Bethlehem, Hebron and Nablus governorates. In one incident on 21 November, Israeli settlers opened fire towards passing Palestinian vehicles near the town of Beit Ummar in Hebron.

In an incident on 20 November, two armed Israeli settlers were held by Palestinians in Qusra (Nablus) after they entered the village and attacked houses. Palestinians informed the Palestinian DCO, but Israeli forces intervened to release the settlers and fired tear gas towards the crowd. Israeli settlers also engaged in various demonstrations and protests including, setting tires on fire in Hebron city and Huwwara junction (Nablus) and closing a main junction near Bethlehem (the Gush Etzion roundabout) and the entrance to Beit Fajjar town (Bethlehem).

Punitive demolitions continue: one house destroyed and four at imminent risk

This week, Israeli authorities demolished or confiscated four Palestinian homes, and delivered demolition and stop work orders against 22 houses and structures, in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

On 19 November, in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities demolished with explosives, the family home of the 20-year-old Palestinian, who was killed by Israeli forces following his attack at a light train station in East Jerusalem on 22 October, which killed an Israeli infant and a women. The destruction of the apartment, located on the fourth floor of a five-storey building, resulted in the displacement of a family of seven including three children, affected 50 other inhabitants in the building and caused damage to two vehicles. The house was destroyed despite that the punitive order delivered by the Israeli authorities order the sealing, not destruction, of the apartment.

Additionally, during the week, the Israeli authorities delivered four punitive demolition orders against the family houses of the perpetrators of attacks against Israelis. This includes the perpetrators of the attack on the synagogue; of the attack on the light train station on 5 November; and of the attempted assassination of an Israeli rabbi and settler leader on 29 October. These orders put four families, at risk of displacement.

The practice of punitive demolitions was largely discontinued in 2005, following the recommendations of a military commission which found it ineffective as a deterrent. This practice resumed on 2 July 2014 leading to the demolition or sealing of five homes this far.

On 25 November, the United Nations Special Rapporteurs on the Occupied Palestinian Territory and on the right to adequate housing called on the Government of Israel to end this practice, stating that the government of Israel “cannot go beyond what is sanctioned by international law” and warned that “such demolitions only add to the frustration and despair felt by people living under prolonged military occupation, and sow the seeds of more hatred and violence for the future.”

In Area C, Israeli authorities damaged and confiscated two donor-funded residential caravans belonging to two registered refugee households from the East Taybe Bedouin community (Ramallah), for lack of Israeli-issued building permits. The structures were provided to the families following a previous demolition of their homes on 20 August. The incident resulted in the displacement of a total of 14 Palestinians including eight children.

Israeli authorities also delivered eviction orders against 70 houses in the Steih area of Jericho for being constructed without Israeli issued permits on “state land” in Area C. Of note, virtually all land in Area C, designated as public or “State land” has been included by the Israeli authorities within the jurisdictional boundaries of Israeli settlements (local and regional councils) and mainly allocated for settlement development and military training, rather than for the benefit of the local population.

Also in East Jerusalem, a Palestinian family demolished their apartment on the third floor of a building lacking permit in Beit Hanina, in order to avoid incurring a higher cost if the building were to be demolished by the Israeli authorities, and in order to improve the odds of legalizing the entire building.

One Palestinian killed and two others injured in the access restricted areas (ARA)

This week, Israeli forces killed one Palestinian civilian and injured another two in three separate incidents in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) along Gaza’s perimeter fence. On 23 November, Israeli forces shot and killed a 32-year-old Palestinian man, while he was reportedly hunting birds east of Jabalia, in an area around 100 meters from the fence. In another two incidents in the ARA, Israeli soldiers shot and injured two Palestinian civilians present at approximately 100 meters from the fence in the southern and northern areas; one of the injured, a 17-year-old boy, is in critical condition. The incident in the northern area reportedly occurred while a group of Palestinians threw stones at Israeli soldiers who approached them.

Also in the ARA, Israeli forces arrested seven Palestinian civilians, reportedly during attempts to infiltrate Israel in search of jobs. In addition, on 17 November, Israeli forces at Erez crossing interrogated for six hours a 51-year-old patient seeking medical treatment in Jordan and subsequently placed him in custody in an Israeli prison.

Palestinian access to areas in the vicinity of the fence has increased since the ceasefire of 26 August 2014. However, the Israeli authorities have so far not officially announced the boundaries of what they consider a restricted area, thus generating uncertainty and increasing the risks to the civilian population. Field observations suggest that areas within 100 meters from the fence are largely inaccessible, while access to areas several hundred meters beyond this distance is risky.

A Palestinian child died of wounds sustained in the July-August hostilities

On 18 November, a 15 year-old Palestinian child died at a hospital in Turkey of wounds sustained on 21 July 2014. The child was reportedly injured when an Israeli drone fired a number of missiles in the direction of his home in Rafah, killing 11 of his family members, including six children. This brings the number of Palestinian child fatalities related to the July-August hostilities to 539 out of a total of 2,257 recorded fatalities.

Concern over the impact of Rafah’s closure; 6,000 Palestinians unable to return to Gaza

The Rafah crossing between Egypt and Gaza remains closed since 24 October, following attacks in the northern Egyptian City of Al Arish, reportedly carried out by radical groups based in the Sinai Peninsula and claiming the lives of 30 Egyptian military personnel. This is the longest period of closure of Rafah recorded since mid-2008.

The number of people currently waiting to exit Gaza via Rafah is estimated at 30,000, of whom 10,000 people are registered with the Border and Crossings Authority, while another 6,000 people are stranded in Egypt and elsewhere, waiting to return to Gaza.

The largest humanitarian concern is the ongoing deterioration in the medical conditions of patients seeking medical treatment abroad or waiting to return home. The Ministry of Health (MoH) estimates that some 1,000 patients are waiting to exit Gaza, including those with advanced cancer, renal and heart diseases, and orthopedic and ophthalmological needs. An additional 1,000 patients are unable to return from their treatment abroad, delaying their continued treatment inside Gaza.

Many of those stranded are reportedly running out of money and resources and some approached the Palestinian Embassy in Cairo, to help them return to Gaza or provide them with urgent financial support to pay for their accommodations, food and other living expenses.

From July 2014 to 24 October, the Rafah crossing was opened and operated on most days, despite significant restrictions on the number of passengers allowed to cross.

22 trucks of specific commercial goods allowed to exit to the West Bank

For the third consecutive week, Israel permitted the exit of goods from Gaza to the West Bank for commercial purposes. Between 18 and 23 November, a total of 22 trucks of fresh produce (18), fish (1), wood (2) and furniture (1) exited Gaza. Despite the progress achieved so far, local producers and exporters expressed concern that transfers of agricultural products, which yield low profit margins, will not be economically viable unless Israel permits the transfer of larger quantities.

Since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007, Israel has banned almost completely the exit of goods from Gaza to the West Bank and Israel, which are the main markets for Gazan products. According to Israeli media, in mid-October Israel announced plans to allow specific produce from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank to support Gaza’s economic situation. According to the Palestinian Crossing Coordination Committee, while they were informed that the list of goods would include agricultural produce, fish, furniture, and clothes, a detailed operational framework for the transfer of goods was not communicated.

So far in 2014, only 88 truckloads of selected agricultural produce were allowed to exit Gaza, the vast majority for export to international markets, compared to 5,007 truckloads of a wider range of goods delivered to the West Bank, Israel and international markets, in the first half of 2007, when export of goods from Gaza was permitted.

Power outages in Gaza reduced from 18 to 12 hours a day on average

Following the resumed operation of the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) on 16 November, scheduled power outages in Gaza were reduced from 18 to 12 hours a day on average, in cycles of eight hours on and eight hours off. During the week, about 1.3 million liters of fuel were delivered through the Kerem Shalom crossing to the GPP, allowing it to operate at half capacity, producing around 60 MW of energy. Despite the improvement, in the coming weeks people in Gaza might experience longer outages due to the increased demand on electricity during winter and shortage of cooking gas.

In addition to the 60 MWs currently generated by the GPP, 120 MWs of power are purchased from Israel and around 30MWs from Egypt respectively. However, the total power combined (210MWs) is less than half the estimated power demand in Gaza (470MWs). The energy and fuel crisis continues to adversely impact the routine provision of basic services in Gaza, including health, water, waste water and solid waste.

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