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Key issues

42 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces across the West Bank; concerns over increased use of live ammunition.

Demolitions in East Jerusalem displace 34 Palestinians.

1,000 ton shipment of cement exceptionally allowed into Gaza for the private sector.

Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt reopened for five consecutive days.


Intense clashes at Al Jalazun refugee camp

This week, Israeli forces injured 42 Palestinians, including eight children, in several clashes across the West Bank. Following the upward trend recorded since the beginning of the year in the Israeli forces’ use of live ammunition, approximately 40 percent of this week’s injuries (17) were caused in such a manner, often in response to stone throwing by Palestinians.

Multiple clashes with Israeli forces were recorded this week at the entrance of Al Jalazun Refugee Camp (Ramallah), resulting in the injury of 16 Palestinians, including three children, the majority by live ammunition; one Palestinian was also hit by a tear gas canister in the face. While the current wave of clashes in and around the camp began last week, following the killing of a Palestinian laborer from the camp by Israeli forces, violent clashes in the area have been on the rise since February 2013, resulting in the killing of a child and the injury of 121 Palestinians, including 38 children.

Another two Palestinians and one Israeli soldier were injured in the early morning hours of 5 February in clashes with Israeli forces during a search-and-arrest operation in Al Far’a Refugee Camp (Tubas). During the operation, Israeli forces fired an unknown explosive device into the first floor of a two-story house, after evacuating residents from the first floor only; one of the family’s children (13 years) reported being beaten, handcuffed and blindfolded, along with four of his brothers, then forced out of the house. The rest of the family members on the second floor were not evacuated or informed before the firing of the explosive device. They also reported being challenged by Israeli forces when attempting to evacuate the burning house following the bombing. Overall, four residents were arrested during the operation, including a member of the affected family.

On 7 February, four Palestinians, including an eight-year-old child, were injured during clashes in the yard of Al Aqsa Mosque Compound, in a protest against the recent increase in the frequency of visits into the compound by Israeli groups, guarded by Israeli forces.

Also this week, five Palestinians, including a 50-year-old woman and two children, were injured as a result of tear gas inhalation while in their homes in Ya’bad village (Jenin) on 6 February, when Israeli forces raided the village and fired teargas canisters between residents’ homes. Other multiple Israeli raids into the village, and firing of tear gas canisters were reported during the week, without injury.

Continuous tension around two settlement areas in Nablus

This week, OCHA recorded seven settler related incidents affecting Palestinians, three of which resulted in injuries and four in damage to property; an additional incident resulted in an injury among Israeli settlers.

Tension around the Esh Kodesh settlement outpost, and the Yitzhar and Bracha settlements, all in the Nablus area, continued during the week. On 6 February, armed Israeli settlers from the outpost clashed with farmers, from the adjacent Qusra village, who were working their land, following which, Israeli forces arrived and fired tear gas and rubber-coated metal bullets at the farmers. The Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) indicated that they had provided on-ground medical treatment for at least two Palestinian children who were injured with rubber-coated metal bullets, in addition to many others who suffocated from excessive teargas inhalation. On 9 February, for unclear reasons, the security guard of Yitzhar settlement fired a tear gas canister into the yard of the secondary school of Burin village while students were inside. A few hours later, a group of armed Israeli settlers from Bracha entered the village from another side, triggering clashes with the residents, which ended in no injuries. Palestinians living or cultivating land in the vicinity of these two settlement areas are regularly subject to systematic settler violence and intimidation, severely undermining their safety and livelihoods.

Another two Palestinians were injured this week in separate incidents involving Israeli settlers, including a truck-driver hit by sticks and stones while travelling on Road 60 near Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah), and a farmer was physically assaulted and hit with a gun when he entered his land near Teqoa settlement (Bethlehem).

The largest incident resulting in property damage occurred on 9 February, when settlers from the Giv’at Hara’el settlement outpost uprooted or otherwise damaged 800 olive saplings, which were recently planted in Sinjil village (Ramallah) through a donor-funded project. An almost identical incident took place in the same place on 22 January. Also this week, a Palestinian family discovered 80 olive trees cut-down near Aqraba village (Nablus) on land adjacent to Itamar settlement, which requires prior coordination with Israeli forces in order to be accessed by its Palestinian owners. In Silwan (East Jerusalem), Israeli settlers slashed the tires of 16 parked vehicles owned by Palestinians and sprayed graffiti on one of the vehicles.

Also this week, according to Israeli media reports, three Israeli settlers from Havat Gil’ad settlement outpost (Nablus) were indicted for an attack in Far’ata village in November 2013, during which several Palestinian vehicles were burned.

Also in East Jerusalem, on 9 February, according to Israeli media sources, an Israeli settler was stabbed by a Palestinian near the Old City, following which Israeli forces conducted a search operation in the area.


East Jerusalem demolitions displace 34; four communities in the Jordan Valley temporarily displaced during military training

Thirty-four (34) Palestinians, including 19 children, were displaced this week in East Jerusalem following the demolition of their homes. The demolitions, including one self-demolition, took place in Jabal al Mukabbir, Beit Hanina, At Tur, Shu’fat and Sur Bahir neighborhoods on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits, which are very difficult to obtain. These bring the total number of structures demolished and people displaced in East Jerusalem since the beginning of 2014 to 13 and 57, respectively. Israeli authorities issued new demolition orders against five residential structures in the Silwan neighborhood of East Jerusalem, placing 30 Palestinians at risk of displacement.

Also this week, over 30 Palestinian families (230 people, including 90 children) from four herding communities in the northern Jordan Valley (Tubas) were forcibly evacuated from their homes, for periods ranging from four to 14 hours, to make way for Israeli military training in the area. Damage to agricultural property was reported during the training. Another 19 Palestinian families from the Ibziq community were verbally notified to evacuate their homes for five hours on 12 February to make way for a scheduled Israeli military training.

Two bystanders injured and several housed damaged in a targeted killing

On 9 February, the Israeli air force conducted an air strike targeting an alleged member of an armed group while he was travelling on a motorcycle in Deir Al Balah, injuring him, along with two civilian bystanders, and causing slight damage to seven houses in the area. The incident occurred following the firing of a number of projectiles towards southern Israel by Palestinian armed groups; all of which landed short in Gaza or in open spaces in southern Israeli, resulting in no injuries or damage.

Israeli forces injured another four Palestinian civilians, three of them with live ammunition, in the context of enforcing restrictions on Palestinians’ access to areas along the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel. The injured were among a group of Palestinians who approached the fence while protesting the ongoing Israeli blockade of Gaza. On at least two other occasions this week, Israeli forces opened warning fire at civilians present in areas along the fence forcing them away. In addition, during the week, Israeli naval forces opened fire on nine occasions at Palestinian fishermen approaching or exceeding the six-nautical-mile limit imposed on Palestinian access to sea areas. No casualties or damage were reported.

Restrictions on the entry of basic building materials continue

For the first time since 13 October 2013, this week (9 and 10 February) Israel exceptionally allowed the entry of 1,000 tonnes of cement through Kerem Shalom Crossing. The cement is designated for the private sector for use in repairing damage sustained during the winter storm in December 2013. The Palestinian Contractors Union indicated that the amount of cement that entered Gaza this week is less than one fourth of the daily needs. Since June 2013, the Gaza Strip has suffered from a severe shortage in basic construction materials, which has further undermined the ability to address urgent housing and infrastructure needs. The shortage was caused primarily by the destruction of smuggling tunnels along the Gaza-Egypt border. This decrease was compounded by the Israeli authorities’ suspension of the limited entry of construction materials for the private sector through Kerem Shalom crossing, following the discovery of an underground tunnel between Gaza and Israel in October 2013.

Rafah crossing opened for five days during the period

After 14 consecutive days of closure, the Rafah crossing opened for five days during the reporting period, allowing the departure of 2,524 Gazans to Egypt, and the return of 1,508 humanitarian cases, including patients and students, in addition to pilgrims. This marks the highest number of travelers leaving Gaza recorded since the imposition of heightened restrictions on the crossing by the Egyptian authorities in July 2013. On average, 1,040 people were allowed to cross into Egypt through Rafah per week between 1 July 2013 and 4 February 2014, compared to a weekly average of 4,200 people who crossed per week between January and June 2013. The crossing remains the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians, due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on movement of Palestinians via Erez Crossing.

Also for the first time this week, due to the extreme shortage of fuel in Gaza, the Egyptian authorities allowed the entry of 270,000 liters of diesel through Rafah Crossing, exclusively designated for the Qatari-funded projects.


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