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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
9 November 2010

    Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
    occupied Palestinian territory

3 - 9 November 2010

Please note that there will be no Protection of Civilians report next week due to the Eid Al Adha Holiday. The next report will cover a two-week period.

West Bank

19 children injured by Israeli forces

Israeli forces injured 23 Palestinians, the large majority of them in clashes in East Jerusalem. Since the beginning of 2010, Israeli forces have injured 1,051 Palestinians, up nearly 40 percent from the equivalent period in 2009 (755 injuries). Around half of 2010 injuries took place during confrontations in East Jerusalem. Two members of Israeli forces were also injured this week.

On 9 November, the Israeli Police conducted an operation in Al ‘Isawiya village in East Jerusalem, reportedly targeting tax-evaders. The operation, along with a flying checkpoint erected at the entrance of the village, triggered clashes between the residents and the Israeli forces. In the course of the clashes, 19 children (aged between ten and 15) were injured, all by rubber-coated metal bullets. Three more children were arrested during the incident and were later released. An Israeli border policeman was also injured by a stone. Since the beginning of 2010, Israeli forces have injured 237 Palestinian children throughout the West Bank, representing some 23 percent of all Palestinian injuries, nearly the same percentage as in the equivalent period in 2009.

Three other Palestinians and two international activists, as well as one soldier, were injured during weekly demonstrations that took place in the Ramallah governorate against the expansion of the Hallamish settlement (on An Nabi Saleh village lands) and the construction of the Barrier in Ni’lin village.

Israeli forces conducted 77 search and arrest operations in the West Bank (including East Jerusalem), compared to a weekly average of 93 such operations in 2010. Arrests of children during operations in the Silwan neighbourhood of East Jerusalem continue. This week, four children (aged between 14 and 17) were arrested in the neighbourhood.

Settler violence continues

This week, OCHA recorded three settler-related incidents that resulted in damage to Palestinian property, two of which took place in the context of the olive harvest. Since the beginning of October, OCHA recorded a weekly average of eight olive harvest-related incidents resulting in injuries and severe damage to property, including the uprooting and burning of thousands of trees.

In the Qalqiliya governorate, the village council of Sanniriya reported that Israeli settlers from the settlement of Oranit set fire to around 86 dunums of the village’s land located near the settlement, damaging around 120 olive trees. In the same governorate, villagers of Kafr Qaddum reported that 30 olive trees had been uprooted, allegedly by settlers. In one incident, settlers reportedly stole 500 meters of concrete pipes belonging to a farmer from Ein Al Bida village (Jordan Valley).

Also this week, Israeli settlers from Maskiyyot settlement built a fence surrounding 90 dunums of agricultural land near the Bedouin community of Ein Al Hilweh in Al Malih area (Jordan Valley), preventing residents from accessing the land. The fence was later removed by Israeli forces. According to the Israeli media, settlers reported that a group of Palestinians and foreign activists set fire to a natural wood near the Bat Ayin settlement (Bethlehem governorate).

Issuance of demolition orders continues

There were no reports of demolitions by the Israeli authorities in East Jerusalem or Area C this week. However, the Israeli authorities distributed stop-work orders against 25 Palestinian-owned structures in the Jordan Valley (20) and Salfit (5) areas due to the absence of building permits, affecting the residences and livelihoods of 15 families. To date in 2010, 315 Palestinian-owned structures have been demolished in Area C and East Jerusalem (including 17 structures demolished by their owners following demolition orders). 402 people have been displaced and about 1,296 people have been otherwise affected.

Also in Area C, Israeli forces seized three vehicles, including a garbage truck belonging to the community of Khallet Zakariya, allegedly for dumping rubbish near the Gush Etzion settlement area (Bethlehem governorate), and a concrete mixer and pump in the Beit ‘Awwa area (Hebron governorate), which were being used for building a house where a stop-work order had been issued.

Access update

During the reporting period, Israeli forces installed eight new obstacles to movement in the Hebron governorate, including five earth mounds and three roadblocks alongside Road 356, blocking farmers’ access to agricultural land. The most significant closure is a roadblock that blocks the main entrance to the Bedouin community of Khallet al Furn with a population of 100 people. There are currently an estimated 500 obstacles (including 64 permanently staffed checkpoints) blocking Palestinian movement within the West Bank, 20 percent fewer than in the first quarter of 2009.

Gaza Strip

Air strikes and restrictions on access to land continue; one killed and
another two injured

During the reporting period, Israeli forces killed a Palestinian man and injured two civilians inside the Gaza Strip. In 2010, 56 Palestinians (including 22 civilians) and 222 Palestinians (including 196 civilians) have been injured in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict in the Gaza Strip. This represents a slight decline in the number of deaths compared to the equivalent figures for 2009 (56 vs. 71; excluding “Cast Lead” casualties). However, injuries in 2010 have increased significantly compared to this same period last year (222 vs. 163), the majority of them (over 60 percent) taking place near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip.

On 3 November, the Israeli Air Force targeted and killed a man, allegedly affiliated with a Palestinian armed group, while he was driving his car inside Gaza City. A female bystander was also injured during the attack. Another two Israeli air strikes targeted tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border in the Rafah area and an open field east of Khan Younis. While no injuries were reported, some houses sustained damage in the Rafah incident.

Incidents along the fence continue to take place due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas located up to 1,500 metres from the fence (17 percent of Gaza’s territory). In one incident, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian workers collecting scrap metal, injuring one of them. Israeli bulldozers and tanks launched incursions a few hundred meters into the Gaza Strip on eight separate occasions and withdrew after conducting land leveling.

Restrictions on fishing areas beyond three nautical miles from the shore continue to be enforced. In four separate incidents, Israeli naval forces opened ‘warning’ fire at Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. No injuries or damage to boats were reported.

Palestinian armed factions launched a number of rockets and mortar shells targeting southern Israel, including military bases located along the border, but no Israeli injuries or damage to property were reported. In one incident, two Palestinian civilians were injured when a mortar shell landed short, east of Khan Younis.

Crossings: growing concern over decline of wheat reserves

This week (31 October-6 November), the number of imported truckloads declined slightly, compared to the previous week (951 vs. 985). This represents around one-third of the weekly average of imports before the imposition of the blockade. Food items made up the majority of imports, or 53 percent.

It is particularly concerning that low quantities of wheat are being allowed into Gaza. This wheat is mainly used in the production of flour and bread. While overall volumes of imports have increased since the Israeli announcement to ease the blockade on 20 June, there has been a sharp fall in the volume of wheat grain allowed into Gaza, with imports decreasing by around one-quarter in the period of June to October compared to the previous five months (48,609 vs. 64,273 tonnes). The main constraint is the limited operation of the conveyor belt at the Karni crossing. This conveyor belt operates only two days a week, one day allocated to the transfer of wheat and animal feed, and the other to gravel for approved international projects. Prior to the easing, wheat and animal feed entered on both days.

According to the Palestinian Crossing Coordination Committee, there are nearly 300 truckloads of wheat delayed and waiting to enter Gaza. As of 10
November, there were some 5,000 tonnes of grain available at the six mills in Gaza and 1,000 tonnes of wheat flour at the local market, quantities that cover the population’s needs for only 8 to 10 days.

Electricity production remains below demand; daily power cuts
reached 8-12 hours

Fuel imports to operate the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) declined by almost 36 percent this week compared to last week (1.29 vs. 2 million liters), representing only 41 percent of the weekly estimated amount of fuel needed to operate the plant at full capacity. As a result, the GPP was forced to reduce its electricity production by about half (30 MW vs. 60 MW), triggering daily power cuts of 8 to 12 hours across the Gaza Strip.

The ongoing power cuts continue to affect daily life throughout the Gaza Strip, as well as the provision of essential services, including water supply, sewage treatment and removal, and the functioning of health services. Access to running water also continues to be a daily challenge for the population due to power cuts. Twenty percent of Gazans living in areas including Gaza City, Rafah and Jabaliya, have access to running water only once every five days (6 to 8 hours); 50 percent have access once every four days (6 hours); and 30 percent receive running water once every two days (6 to 8 hours).

Gaza court sentences man to death

On 2 November, the Court of First Instance in Gaza sentenced a man to death by hanging after he was convicted of kidnapping and killing a nine-year-old girl in 2004. In addition this year, three men have been sentenced to death following convictions of collaborating with Israel in 2010. Five others have been executed, two convicted of collaborating with Israel in 2009, and three convicted of murder in 1996, 2005 and 2009.

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