Thirty-six Palestinian civilians were injured throughout the oPt in conflict related incidents. As during the whole of 2011, most casualties in the West Bank were related to settlement and Barrier activities while in Gaza they occur mainly as a result of Israeli air strikes.
Twenty-five water collection structures were demolished during the reporting period, increasing the vulnerability of people’s livelihoods. Overall in 2011, the number of people displaced was more than twice (over 1,090) the number recorded in the previous year (over 590), with more than 640 structures demolished.
Multiple injuries in clashes with Israeli forces and settlers
A total of 30 Palestinians were injured during the two-week reporting period in conflict-related incidents. Eighty percent of these injuries occurred in incidents involving Israeli settlers or in protests against settlement related measures. One Israeli policeman was also injured during the reporting period.
Three Palestinians were injured by Israeli settlers, including two boys (aged 14 and 15) physically assaulted in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron City (H2); and a worker stabbed in the Betar Illit settlement (Bethlehem); and one when hit by stones while traveling in a truck near Yitzhar settlement (Nablus). Israeli forces injured another 13 Palestinians in two incidents involving clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers, in ‘Asira al Qibliya (Qalqiliya) during a settler raid in the village, and in the Old City of East Jerusalem, following a settler provocation of people celebrating a wedding.
Eight additional injuries occurred in three separate weekly demonstrations against the expansion of Hallamish settlement and the construction of the Barrier on Bil’in land in the Ramallah area, and against the continuous closure of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum village, that leads to Qedumim settlement in the Qaqiliya area.
During the reporting period Israeli settlers also cut down 27 olive trees in Khirbet Ash Shuweika village (Hebron). A number of other incidents of intimidation by settlers, resulting in no injuries or property damage, were reported in the Bethlehem and Nablus areas. During 2011, Israeli settlers vandalized over 10,000 Palestinian olive trees throughout the West Bank.
Area C: 25 water collection structures demolished
During the reporting period, the Israeli authorities demolished 25 water-related structures used for agricultural and domestic purposes, bringing the total number of water-related structures demolished during 2011 to around 90.
Twenty-one of these demolitions occurred in the Hebron governorate, including four wells, 12 water pools, three cisterns and two water storage tanks, in Idhna community, and in Al-Majnona and Khirbet al Majd areas. Another four cisterns were demolished in Kafr al Dik village (Salfit).
Additional demolitions included a house (in Idna), displacing eight people; an extension to a residential house (Barta’a ash Sharqiya; Jenin); and seven agricultural structures (in Idna and Kafr ad Dik). Also during the reporting period, the Israeli authorities delivered eviction and stop work orders against three houses, four cisterns, and 20 dunums of Palestinian-owned land planted with grape vines in the Bethlehem and Hebron governorates.
Israeli air strikes and shooting incidents result in civilian injuries
During the two-week period, Israeli forces launched a number of air strikes and opened fire near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip. Palestinian factions also fired a number of rockets and mortar shells towards southern Israel.
In two separate incidents on 27 December, the Israeli air force targeted Palestinian militants on a motorbike and in a vehicle, killing one militant, injuring nine other Palestinians, including four civilians (one of whom is a 14 year-old child) and damaging four structures (including two houses and two commercial shops). In a separate incident on 30 December, one militant was targeted and killed and another injured while they were allegedly preparing to fire a rocket from Gaza towards southern Israel.
In the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas near the fence, two other Palestinians, including a 12 year-old child and a mentally challenged man, were injured by Israeli fire. Also, Israeli forces detained five Palestinians who were allegedly attempting to infiltrate into Israel. The men are still in detention. On three separate occasions, Israeli bulldozers and tanks entered nearly 400 meters into the Gaza Strip and withdrew after conducting land leveling. The Israeli navy continued to impose a naval blockade in Gaza by enforcing restrictions on access to fishing areas located beyond three nautical miles from the shore. In one incident, three fishermen were arrested and taken for interrogation; two of the fishermen were released without their boat as of the end of the reporting period. Also, in two separate incidents, Israeli navy vessels opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. One fishing boat sustained damage.
Palestinian rocket and mortar shells towards southern Israel resulted in no casualties or damage to property. One of the rockets dropped short and hit a Palestinian house, north of Beit Lahiya, injuring one civilian and causing partial damage to the house.
Some of the remaining infrastructure of Karni crossing demolished
During the reporting period, Israeli forces bulldozed some of the remaining infrastructure at Karni Crossing, including offices, roads and bunkers, located on the Palestinian side inside Gaza. While this move may indicate intentions to remove the crossing completely, it is still not clear if the Israeli authorities are carrying out similar activities on the Israeli side of the crossing. Previously, Karni Crossing served as the principal commercial crossing between the Gaza Strip and the outside world, Israel and the West Bank. However, the crossing was gradually downgraded by first limiting the number of its operating days and hours between 2000 and 2007, then by banning the movement of goods in 2007, except through a single conveyor belt to transfer grain, and finally by completely closing it in March 2011. This leaves Kerem Shalom as the only commercial crossing functioning also after the closure of Sufa (in March 2009) and Nahal Oz crossings (in January 2010). The situation deteriorates when the Kerem Shalom Crossing shuts down (during holidays and security alerts), rendering Gaza almost commercially completely isolated from the outside world. As of the beginning of 2012, the capacity of Kerem Shalom after recent developments is 450 truckloads per day, up from 300 in 2011. This is, however, well below the total capacity of Karni Crossing, which was 900 truckloads per day, prior to 2007.
Limited agricultural produce continue to be allowed out of Gaza
During the two-week reporting period, a total of 48 truckloads of agricultural produce exited the Gaza Strip, including 40.5 truckloads of strawberries (165.6 tonnes), 3.5 of cut flowers ( 134,340 stems), 3.5 of sweet pepper ( 19.75 tons) and 0.5 truckload of cherry tomato (2.7 tons).
In 2011, around 269 truckloads of certain agricultural produce were allowed out of Gaza to the world market compared to over 5,700 truckloads of a wider range of exports, which exited to the West Bank, Israel and external world between January and May 2007, before the blockade. Under the Access and Movement Agreement signed between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority in 2005, the number of export trucks per day processed via Karni Crossing should have reached 400 truckloads.