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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
13 October 2014

Key issues
Access restrictions and continuing Israeli entry to Al Aqsa mosque compound lead to clashes
Around 91 Palestinian-owned trees damaged by settlers so far during the olive harvest season in West Bank
Concerns over further settlement expansion in East Jerusalem and Bethlehem
Two Palestinians died of wounds in Gaza while ceasefire continues to hold
First shipment of basic construction materials enters Gaza via Karem Shalom Crossing
Five Palestinians injured by unexploded ordnance in the West Bank and Gaza
Shortages of electricity and fuel further in Gaza further undermine provision of basic services
Over 100,000 people remain displaced in Gaza

Access restrictions and continuing Israeli entry into Al Aqsa mosque compound lead to clashes

Over the two-week period, 82 Palestinians, including 15 children and five women were injured by Israeli forces in addition to two internationals. 9 of the injuries were by live ammunition, bringing to 923 the number of injuries by live ammunition out of a total of 4,389 since the beginning of the year.

On four occasions 2, 7, 8 and 13 October, clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians erupted in the Al Aqsa Mosque compound and the Bab Hutta area of the Old City of Jerusalem. These were in the context of protests against the entrance of Israelis into the compound as well as restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities on Palestinians’ access to the compound. A total of 36 Palestinians were injured on these days inside the compound, mainly by rubber bullets fired by Israeli forces, including a child injured by a rubber bullet in the head and a 63-year-old woman physically assaulted during the protests. Israeli forces also fired sound grenades, tear gas canisters and pepper spray. Three Israeli policemen were injured as a result of stone throwing by Palestinians in the Bab Hutta area.

Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access into the compound continue to be imposed based on age, gender and occurrence of religious holidays. On six occasions during the reporting period, Israeli authorities restricted the access of all Palestinians; on two occasions the restriction of access coincided with the entry of settlers and other Israeli groups to the compound, protected by Israeli forces. On the same day, Al Awqaf staff was prevented from passing through the gates of the mosque. Since 2013, the entry of Israelis into the mosque compound has increased from weekly to semi-daily visits and the frequency of corresponding access restrictions imposed on Palestinians has increased, leading to clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians.

Twelve Palestinians including four children were injured in clashes that erupted on 3 and 12 October, in the context of the entry of Israelis and Israeli settler groups, protected by Israeli forces, to the area of Joseph’s Tomb (Nablus). Following Palestinian stone throwing at the groups, Israeli forces fired live ammunition as well as rubber bullets and tear gas canisters. Four Palestinians, including two children, were injured by live ammunition.

Also on 12 October, Israeli forces physically assaulted a Palestinian teacher in the context of a raid on the premises of the Haj Ziad Jaber School (Hebron) to arrest three students, following alleged stone throwing by students at passing Israeli vehicles. The teacher was filming the incident when soldiers attacked him and broke the camera. Up until the end of June 2014, 122 violent incidents occurred within or next to educational facilities of which 20 incidents took place in the H2 area in Hebron.

During the reporting period, Israeli forces arrested 193 Palestinians in the course of 146 search and arrest operations. This would indicate a weekly average of the two week period of 97 arrests, compared to a weekly average of 93 since the beginning of the year, resulting in 313 casualties.

In two separate incidents on 30 September, three Palestinians were injured due to the detonation of unexploded ordnance (UXO). In one incident in Hebron, a man was removing rubble with a bulldozer from the house of one of the suspects in the killing of the three Israeli youths in June, when the UXO exploded; the house had been destroyed by Israeli forces using explosives on 18 August. In the second incident, two children, ages 11 and 12, were injured when an UXO exploded while they were grazing their cattle in an area near Al Manshiya village (Bethlehem).

Around 90 Palestinian-owned trees damaged by Israeli

Ten incidents of settler violence resulting in injury or damage to property were recorded during the two-week period, marking a rise in the number of settler violence incidents over the past six weeks. Of the total, three incidents resulted in injury to five Palestinians, including three children and one woman.

On 11 October, two children, ages eight and 16, were attacked and injured by around seven settlers from Metzadot Yehuda outpost, near the area of Assefer (Hebron). The children were tending sheep near their house which is located close to the settlement.The eight-year-old was injured with a knife and the other was beaten with a club.

Coinciding with the official beginning of the olive harvest season, this period witnessed a significant increase in settler attacks targeting Palestinian harvesters and Palestinian-owned olive trees (nine incidents), with several incidents recorded in areas where access to land required prior-coordination with the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA). In addition, several incidents involving intimidation were reported. In one incident, on 9 October, an attempt by a group of settlers to steal around 500 kg of olives harvested by a family in Yanun village (Nablus) was prevented following the intervention of Israeli forces. In two separate incidents on 11 October, settlers attacked Palestinians while they were picking olives in areas requiring prior coordination with the ICA, injuring a man and his nine-year-old child in Kafr al Labad (Tulkarem), and a 27-year-old-woman in Yassuf (Salfit).

In total, Israeli settlers damaged, around 90 trees owned by Palestinians in six villages across the West Bank, including 59 trees in Husan and Nahhalin (Bethlehem), 2 trees in Yassuf (Salfit), 15 trees in Burin (Nablus), and 15 trees in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya). Thus far in 2014, OCHA has recorded the damage or destruction of over 7,433 trees or saplings in the context of reported settler-related incidents, compared to around 9,265 trees and saplings in the same period in 2013. In addition in one incident on 7 October, a farmer who had been granted access to his land within the Israeli-imposed coordination times, found that his land in Deir al Hatab (Nablus) had been fenced off by settlers who, according to community sources, used it to graze sheep, causing damage to the trees.

During the reporting period, community sources reported a failed attempt to kidnap a four-year-old Palestinian child, by settlers in the Old City of Jerusalem. A settler was briefly detained by Israeli police in this connection. This brings the total number of such reported attempts since June 2014 in East Jerusalem to five, excluding the kidnapping and killing of a 16-year-old boy on 2 July 2014.

According to Israeli media sources, during the week, there were seven incidents of attacks on Israeli settlers, of which one resulted in injury to two female settlers and six resulting in damage to settler vehicles and a house, compared to a weekly average of three such incidents recorded since the beginning of the year. All incidents were the result of stone throwing by Palestinians in Hebron, Bethlehem, and East Jerusalem. In addition, nine incidents of stone throwing at the light rail in Shu’fat (East Jerusalem) were reported.

Concerns over further settlement expansion

On 30 September, dozens of Israeli settlers accompanied by Israeli forces took over 25 apartments in Silwan neighborhood in East Jerusalem. The houses were bought by the El’ad settler organization. Silwan, with a population of some 55,000 Palestinians, is immediately adjacent to the Old City of Jerusalem. Due to its strategic and historical significance, it has repeatedly been the target of settlement activities by the Israeli government as well as religious settler organizations. According to local sources, since the late 1980’s, Israeli settlers have taken over 19 buildings in Silwan occupied by 350 settlers. Furthermore, the City of David settlement tourist center is located at the entrance of Silwan, across from which, a plan promoted by El’ad for the construction of a visitors’ centre (Kedem center) was approved by the District Planning Committee in February 2014.

On 2 October, Israeli authorities announced in al Quds newspaper that the status of 80 dunums of privately-owned Palestinian land in Al Khader and Nahhalin (Bethelhem), near Neve Daniel settlement, will be changed from agricultural land to public use. The land will be utilized to the benefit of the Neve Daniel settlement, and specifically, to build a religious school and public parks. The land is partly cultivated, and according to the Israeli Civil Administration, part of the land was previously declared ‘State land’.

No demolitions recorded during the reporting period in the West Bank

During the reporting period, on 8 and 7 October Israeli authorities delivered three evacuation orders to 15 Palestinians families in the herding communities of Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar, Bardala and Hammamat al Malih al Meiteh in the Jordan Valley, to make way for Israeli military training. The orders entail the evacuation, for several days, from their homes, and in Bardala at least four livelihood structures, five water tanks and an animal pen with around 480 cattle. Of note, both Bardala and Hammamat al Malih al Meitah are located in the “firing zone”. Of note, some 18 per cent of the West Bank has been declared a closed zone for military training or “firing zone” by the Israeli authorities. Approximately 5,000 Palestinian residing in 38 Bedouin and herding communities e in these areas, many prior to their declaration as “firing zones.”

Additionally, five demolition and stop-work orders were delivered on 1 and 7 October in Jerusalem, for lack of Israeli-issued building permits in Area C. Three of the orders target the structures of a donorfunded school in Jaba’ Bedouin community serving 46 pupils and one order targeted a residential structure belonging to a family of seven members from the Abu Fallah Bedouin community in Khan al Ahmar. Of note, in one incident on 6 October in Bruqin (Salfit), a Palestinian received a stop-work order requiring him to restore his plot of land to its original state, hence, removing his sheep barracks in addition to 120 trees planted by his family.

According to community members in Ein Al Hilweh -- Um al Jmal Bedouin community in the northern Jordan Valley, the ICA verbally notified them that all the community structures are slated for demolition. Ein al Hilweh - Um Al Jmal is located in Area C and in an Israeli-declared “firing zone”. If implemented, around 80 people, half of whom are children, would be displaced.


Two Palestinians died of wounds in Gaza while ceasefire continues to hold

The ceasefire agreed on 26 August, largely continues to hold, with no reported rocket or airstrikes coming into or emanating from the Gaza Strip. However, several incidents involving the opening of fire by Israeli forces took place, in the context of access restrictions along Gaza’s perimeter fence as well as at sea.

In seven incidents, during the two-week reporting period, Israeli forces opened fire into areas adjacent to the fence, causing one injury, and reportedly forcing Palestinian farmers to leave their agricultural land. On 11 October, a 24-year-old civilian was injured by Israeli fire at approximately 300 meters from the fence north of Beit Lahia in Northern Gaza. Israeli forces also conducted one land-leveling operation on the Gaza side of the fence, reportedly entering up to approximately 150 meters. Two Palestinian civilians were detained by Israeli forces, allegedly after attempting to cross illegally into Israel through the fence.

On two occasions during the reporting period, Israeli naval forces opened warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats sailing near the Israeli-declared 6-Nautical-Mile (NM) fishing limit. No injuries were reported. Access restrictions at land and sea continue to undermine the agricultural sector in Gaza, which is the primary source of income for thousands of farmers and fishermen and their families.

During the reporting period, two Palestinians died of wounds sustained during the July-August hostilities. According to the latest figures provided by the Protection Cluster, the cumulative death toll among Palestinians during the conflict was 2,192, of whom at least 1,523 are believed to be civilians, including 519 Palestinian children and 287 women.

Three Civilians injured by unexploded ordnance (UXO)

The presence of unexploded ordnance (UXOs) continues to pose a high risk to civilians, particularly children. Following the July-August hostilities, the risk of UXO and Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) became significantly higher. Since the ceasefire on 26 August, four Palestinians have been killed in UXO incidents, and six others injured. One Palestinian was injured by UXO in the northern Gaza Strip on 4 October and two others on 11 October. According to the UN Mine Action Service (UNMAS), children, rubble-removal workers, scrap collectors, construction workers, IDPs returning to their damaged homes and farmers working and/or living in the access restricted areas have been identified as the most exposed groups to UXO hazards.

Shortages of electricity and fuel further undermine provision of basic services

The Ministry of Health in Gaza warned of a humanitarian crisis in Gaza’s hospitals due to the shortage of electricity supply, combined with a severe lack of the emergency fuel needed to run the backup generators. According to the Ministry, Gaza health facilities are suffering a severe energy crisis that is impacting the hospitals’ ability to run routine operations and thus adversely affecting the treatment of patients. Hospitals in Gaza have, for the past several years, been suffering from severe disruptions due to power cuts currently reaching as high as 18 hours per day. In order to sustain critical services, most service providers have been consuming high levels of fuel to run electricity generators. On 13 October, around 50,000 liters of emergency fuel coordinated by the health cluster were distributed to the impacted hospitals slightly easing the situation; however, hospitals warn that they only have enough fuel to run electricity generators for another five to seven days. Gaza’s sole power plant remains out of function for the sixth consecutive week following its repair, due to the lack of fuel.

Over 100,000 people remain displaced

The Shelter Cluster estimates that approximately 20,000 housing units or five per cent of the housing stock in Gaza was severely damaged during the July-August hostilities, and is now uninhabitable. According to the Shelter Cluster more than 106,000 people remain displaced, with an estimated 47,000 people living with host families and 57,000 people in collective centers, predominantly schools. Alternative accommodation has not been arranged before the start of winter, and the living conditions of the IDPs continues to deteriorate with many still in need of additional humanitarian assistance, including clothing, winter blankets, and heaters. According to preliminary assessments, up to 75,000 – 80,000 refugee homes were impacted.

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