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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 September 2013

Key issues

199 Palestinians, including 83 children, were injured in clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank.
A newborn baby died on the Egyptian side of the Rafah Crossing, while the family was waiting to cross into Gaza on 27 September.
Following eight days of closure, the Egyptian authorities partially re-opened Rafah Crossing on 28 September


Significant number of Palestinian injuries by Israeli forces

This week, 199 Palestinian civilians, including 83 children, were injured during confrontations with Israeli military forces in the West Bank.

The majority of these injuries (125, including 63 children) occurred in the context of clashes that developed between Palestinians and Israeli forces during demonstrations against the recent visits of Israelis, including settlers, to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound/Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. Most of the injuries were caused by rubber-coated metal bullets (106), teargas inhalation (56), and live ammunition (15).

In one incident on 24 September, clashes erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces near Damascus Gate, leading into the Old City of Jerusalem, during which Israeli soldiers fired tear gas, sound grenades and rubber bullets towards tens of Palestinians who were protesting against marches by Israelis in the Old City on the occasion of the Jewish holidays. Nineteen (19) Palestinians were injured and 12 others were arrested, including three children.

Demonstrations occurred in other West Bank cities against the recent visits of Israelis, including settlers, to the Al Aqsa Mosque compound/Temple Mount: on 24 September, 20 Palestinians were injured in the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron City (H2) in clashes with Israeli forces and on 27 September, 30 Palestinians were injured during clashes with Israeli forces near Ayda Refugee Camp (Bethlehem) and 15 Palestinians were injured during confrontations with Israeli forces in H2.

In Al Fawwar Refugee Camp (Hebron), a boy (6 years) lost his eye and five other children, including his sister (13 years), were also injured by rubber-coated metal bullets. The boy and his sister were heading home with their mother, while clashes were going on at the entrance of the camp, between Israeli forces and Palestinians demonstrating..

Dozens of Palestinians were also injured this week throughout the West Bank in a variety of other contexts, including Israeli search and arrest operations and regular demonstrations held by Palestinians against the Barrier, movement and access restrictions, and in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli facilities. On 27 September, nine Palestinians, including four children were injured near the Israeli prison, Ofer (Ramallah), during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces. Israeli soldiers reportedly fired tear gas canisters, live ammunitions and rubber bullets towards Palestinian who were throwing stones; as a result, one Palestinian was injured by live ammunition, six were injured by rubber bullets, and two were treated for teargas inhalation.

Additionally this week, three members of Israeli forces were injured with stones thrown at them by Palestinians, during clashes in three different demonstrations, one in Beit Ummar (Hebron) and two in East Jerusalem.

Relatively few settler-related incidents

During the reporting period, there were eight settler- related incidents that resulted in injury to Palestinians (one incident) or damage to Palestinian-owned property (7). One incident resulted in the injury of a settler.

On 28 September, a group of Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured two Palestinian girls, aged 13 and 14, while they were on their way to school in the Old City of Jerusalem. Also, on 27 September, according to the Palestinian Civil Defense, some 350 olive trees were completely destroyed by a fire affecting over 80 dunums of land belonging to Az Zawiya village (Salfit). The land is located on the "Israeli" side of the Barrier, near Elqana settlement. Access to the land by its Palestinian owners requires permission from theIsraeli authorities. Additionally, according to the village council of Wadi Fukin (Bethlehem), on 26 September, Israeli settlers from Betar Illit dumped sewage water on Palestinian land cultivated with olive trees; five families, including 32 individuals were affected.

In three different incidents this week, Israeli settlers reportedly caused damage to 11 Palestinian-owned vehicles in Jaba' (Jerusalem) (1), near Al Jalazon Refugee Camp in Ramallah (2), and in East Jerusalem (8).

Evacuation order issued against agricultural land in Bethlehem

No demolitions were reported this week. On 24 September, Israeli authorities issued an evacuation order affecting a three-dunum plot of agricultural land, near El'azar settlement, on the grounds that it is "state" land. According to the village council of Khallet al Fahem (Bethlehem), the land is owned by a Palestinian from the village who holds official documents proving his ownership. The man was given 45 days to appeal against the order.


One Palestinian civilian killed and one injured by Israeli
forces in the Access Restricted Areas

Incidents in the context of Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to land and at sea continued this week. On 30 September, Israeli forces stationed near the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel shot and killed a Palestinian man approximately 400 meters from the fence. In a separate incident, Israeli forces shot and injured another man at approximately 200 meters from the fence, before detaining him. The two men were reportedly attempting to cross into Israel from Beit Hanoun (northern Gaza)in search of work, according to their families.

On 27 September, Israeli forces stationed at the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip fired warning shots and teargas canisters towards a group of Palestinians (approximately 70) who were protesting against recent visits of Israelis, including settlers, to the Al Aqsa mosque compound/Temple Mount in the Old City of Jerusalem. The group of protesters were reportedly a few hundred metres from the fence. Palestinian security forces in Gaza intervened and prevented the group of protestors from approaching closer to the fence. No injuries were reported.

On several occasions during the week, Israeli forces fired warning shots at farmers present in the Access Restricted Area (ARA) forcing them to leave, and conducted land leveling operations. Similarly, in at least one occasion, Israeli naval forces fired warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats near the 6 nautical mile fishing limit.

Also this week, Palestinian armed groups fired several projectiles at southern Israel, of which two reportedly landed in an open area inside Israel and the rest fell inside Gaza; no injuries or damage were reported.

This week's casualties bring the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the announcement of the Egyptian-brokered cease-fire between Israel and Hamas on 21 November 2012 to seven and the number of injured to 124.

Shortages of fuel and construction materials continue, as a result of reduced tunnel activity

According to local sources, there has been a slight increase in the volume of goods transported via illegal tunnels under the border with Egypt this week; about 30-40 truckloads entered Gaza, compared to 20-30 last week.

Between 300,000-400,000 liters of fuel per day reportedly entered Gaza this week (the same volumes as last week) via the tunnels for all needs, compared to approximately one million per day prior to June 2013.

However, transfer of diesel to the GPP through the tunnels declined this week, with 250,000 liters entering per day, compared to 300,000 last week and over 400,000 liters per day before June 2013. The decline continued to impact the GPP's fuel reserves, with less than 500,000 liters currently available, compared to over 8 million liters before

June. The GPP continues to operate at half of its full capacity, triggering electricity blackouts of up to 12 hours per day, and up to 16 hours per day in some areas. As a result, people have been forced to adopt methods of providing power to their homes during blackouts that put them at risk of injury: in an incident on 28 September, two people were injured, including a 16- year- old girl, when a fire broke out in their home due to the malfunctioning of a power generator during electricity outages.

Fuel shortfalls have also continued to disrupt the provision of basic services, including water, sanitation, health and transportation. Fuel imported from Israel is currently available but is sold at double the price of heavily-subsidized fuel purchased from Egypt via the illegal tunnels.

Construction materials have continued to enter via the illegal tunnels in limited amounts. The Palestinian Federation of Industries estimates that 150 tonnes of building materials (mainly cement) entered per day this week compared to a daily average of more than 7,500 tonnes in June 2013.

Entry of truckloads through Kerem Shalom

Kerem Shalom crossing was open for three days only during the reporting period, due to the Jewish holidays. On those days and in line with a 17 September decision, Israeli authorities continued to allow the entry of a limited amount of construction materials for use in the private sector. Approximately 57 truckloads of cement, 8ltruckloads of gravel and 30 truckloads of steel bars were allowed into Gaza via the crossing this week. The Ministry of National Economy in the Gaza Strip, however, estimates daily needs at around 6,000 tonnes of gravel, 4,000 tonnes of cement and 1,500 tonnes of steel bars. Due to the shortage, prices of building materials remain about 20 per cent higher than June 2013 prices.

Newborn infant dies while his mother was waiting to cross into Gaza through Rafah

Following eight days of closure between 20-27 September, the Egyptian authorities re-opened the Rafah crossing from 28 to 30 September. Since early July, when open, the crossing has operated on a reduced schedule of four hours per day (six days per week), down from nine hours (seven days per week). According to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, on 27 September, a newborn baby died, hours after he was born near the Rafah Crossing gate - his mother had been denied access into Gaza the same day. The mother stated to a local media outlet that she gave birth to her baby in a car that was driving her to the hospital as the Egyptian ambulance was unable to reach her due to the night curfew in the Sinai. The baby died shortly after she reached hospital.On average, approximately 106 travelers were allowed to cross into Egypt and around 103 others entered Gaza daily during the three days the crossing operated this week; most of those passing were medical cases, students, people holding visas and foreign nationals. These numbers remain well below the daily average of approximately 1,860 who crossed in June, prior to the imposition of restrictions. Due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on movement via the Erez Crossing, the Rafah Crossing has become the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians. The Gaza Border and Crossing Authority is currently not accepting any further travel applications, leaving around 5,000 people waiting to travel to Egypt and third countries, including medical cases and students. On 29 September, hundreds of students and travelers gathered in front of the Rafah Crossing in protest against its frequent closure. The local police forces in Gaza intervened to disperse the crowd.

Gaza court issues a new death sentence and confirms another one

On 24 September, the Civilian Court in the Gaza Strip sentenced a Palestinian man (aged 47) to death by hanging, after convicting him of murder. The man was detained on 22 December 2010 and accused of killing a relative that day. According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR),this is the tenth (10) death sentence issued since the beginning of 2013, of which nine were issued in the Gaza Strip and one in the West Bank. Also, on 26 September, the Gaza Court of Cessation rejected an appeal against a death sentence by hanging issued against a 35- year- old man, who was convicted of murder in August 2009. The total number of death sentences issued since 1994 has risen to 141, of which 114 have been issued in the Gaza Strip and 27 in the West Bank. Among those issued in the Gaza Strip, 53 sentences have been issued since 2007, when Hamas took over the Gaza Strip. Of the total number of death sentences, 29 have been executed, of which 27 were executed in the Gaza Strip and 2 in the West Bank. Among those executed in the Gaza Strip, 16 have been carried out since 2007, without ratification of the Palestinian President.

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