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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
7 April 2014

Key issues

Six Palestinians were injured and hundreds of Palestinian-owned olive trees damaged by Israeli settlers.

Over 90 people were displaced by demolitions across Area C of the West Bank.

Increase in tension in the Gaza Strip after lull in Israeli airstrikes.


Decline in clashes and injuries with Israeli forces

During the reporting period, there was a significant decline in injuries to Palestinians - of almost two-thirds compared to last week (52 injuries). A total of 18 Palestinians were injured during the week by Israeli forces, including nine by live ammunition. Twelve of this week’s injuries were sustained in clashes with Israeli forces on 4 April in Ramallah during a demonstration near the Beituniya checkpoint in solidarity with Palestinian prisoners held in Israeli prisons. These included six injuries sustained by live ammunition, two by rubber-coated metal bullets, one by a tear gas canister, and the rest after inhaling gas.

Three other Palestinians were shot and injured by live ammunition, including a 13-year-old child and a man injured in clashes with Israeli forces at the entrances of the villages of An Nabi Saleh and Silwad, respectively (both in Ramallah); and another after throwing a Molotov cocktail at an Israeli military Jeep in Huwara village (Nablus).

The number of Palestinian injuries by live ammunition accounted for four per cent of the total injuries in 2013, up from two per cent in 2012. The remaining three Palestinians were injured in separate clashes in Ayda (Bethlehem) and Balata (Nablus) refugee camps and in Al ‘Eizariya town (Jerusalem).

Six Palestinians injured and hundreds of olive trees damaged by Israeli settlers

There were nine settler-related incidents this week resulting in Palestinian injuries or damage to Palestinian-owned property.
In one incident on 4 April, six Palestinians, including two children (aged 17) and two women, were injured in a clash with Israeli settlers in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem. The clash erupted after Israeli settlers stoned Palestinian vehicles and houses while they were en route to visit a tomb in the area. Subsequently, Israeli forces intervened and removed the settlers and arrested two of the injured Palestinians.

There were eight attacks perpetrated by settlers during the week, resulting in damage to Palestinian property. Five of these incidents involved damage to around 835 olive trees and seedlings: around 600 olive trees were uprooted and some stolen in two separate incidents, reportedly by settlers from the Neve Daniel North settlement outpost in Bethlehem on 4 and 5 April; around 150 olive trees were uprooted, reportedly by settlers from Susiya settlement, on 6 April; 35 olive trees were discovered damaged near Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya) on 6 April; and 50 other olive seedlings were uprooted and stolen near Yitzhar settlement (Nablus) on 5 April. In the other three incidents, settlers damaged two Palestinian-plated vehicles, one by stoning while it was travelling on Road 60 in Ramallah, and another near a house in the village of Jalud (Nablus); and killed one sheep and injured another in Hebron.

Also this week, one Israeli settler was stoned and injured in the Old City of Jerusalem; the perpetrator remains unknown. A number of incidents of throwing stones and a Molotov cocktail by Palestinians against settlers who were driving in the Jerusalem and Ramallah governorates were reported, some of which caused damage to vehicles.

Wave of demolitions affects over 200 people
During the week, the Israeli authorities demolished a total of 50 structures across Area C of the West Bank due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. The demolitions led to the displacement of 93 people, half of whom were children, and affected 118 others. Another residential caravan was self-demolished by its owner in At Tur in East Jerusalem on 2 April, displacing four people.

Over half of this week’s demolitions took place on 1 April in the Jordan Valley, affecting the herding communities of Humsa al Buqai’a (14 structures), Al Ja’wana (13), Jiftlik/Abu al ‘Ajaj (2) and Husma al Basaliya (1). These demolitions bring the total number of structures demolished and people displaced in the Jordan Valley since the beginning of the year to over 130 and 250, respectively. Sixteen (16) of the affected structures were provided by donors. Demolitions and displacement in the Jordan Valley have risen dramatically over the past year, with the number of people displaced more than doubling from 2012 to 2013, from 279 to 590. Overall, demolitions in the Jordan Valley accounted for around 60 per cent of total Area C demolitions in 2013.

In addition during the week, four residences and 13 livelihood structures were demolished in At Tuwani (Hebron), in Jabal al Baba and the Khan al Ahmar-Mithawish Bedouin communities (both in the Jerusalem governorate), in Tulkarm city and in Barta’a Ash Sharqiya town (Jenin), located in the closed area between the Barrier and the Green Line. As a result, 39 people were displaced and the livelihood of 84 others was affected. In addition, Israeli forces issued demolition and stop-work orders against at least ten residential structures (the majority provided by donors) in the Bedouin communities of Khan al Ahmar-Mithawish, Mikhmas, Kasarat and Nkheilah in the Jerusalem governorate.

Also this week, around 20 Palestinian families (around 120 people, including 70 children) from the herding community of ‘Ibziq in the northern Jordan Valley (Tubas) were forcibly evacuated from their homes, for a few hours, to make way for Israeli military training in the area.

Two Palestinians, including four-month-old infant, injured in Gaza

Tension between Israeli forces and armed Palestinian groups saw a relative increase this week after almost two weeks of no reports of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. This week, Israeli air forces reportedly conducted at least 10 airstrikes following Palestinian projectile firing at southern Israel. Two injuries, including a four-month-old infant, were reported on 4 April when an Israeli missile struck agricultural land north of Nuseirat camp, leading to damage to doors, windows and roofs of some 20 nearby houses: Israeli sources reported that the Israeli Air Force was targeting a Hamas military installation in the area. In three separate incidents on 4 and 6 April, cars and workshops were damaged by airstrikes in Jabaliya, in addition to an agricultural water-well and other infrastructure destroyed east of Beit Hanoun. Also a number of rockets were fired by Palestinian armed groups towards southern Israel; no injuries or damage to property were reported.

Israeli forces continued to enforce restrictions on Palestinian access to areas near the fence separating Israel and the Gaza Strip, as well as on fishing areas beyond six nautical miles (NM) from the shore. On at least two occasions this week, Israeli forces fired warning shots and tear gas canisters towards Palestinians collecting gravel from the former Erez industrial area, forcing them to leave the area. In addition, on 2 April, three Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces when they attempted to cross into Israel through the fence, north of Beit Lahiya. Also, in the same context, on at least four occasions, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered approximately 200 meters inside Gaza, and conducted land-leveling operations. During one land-leveling operation on 7 April, Israeli tanks fired a shell and detonated an explosive device placed near the fence by armed Palestinians. No injuries were reported.

Similarly, on at least 11occasions this week, Israeli naval forces opened warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the six (NM) fishing limit; no injuries were reported. During one incident, on 3 April, the Israeli navy confiscated a Palestinian boat, reportedly approximately four NM from the shore, west of Al Shata Refugee camp. The boat is still in Israeli custody.

Rafah Crossing remains closed for humanitarian cases

On 6 and 7 April, the Rafah Crossing was open specifically for the departure of Gaza pilgrims and the entry of travelers stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing. Approximately 791 pilgrims left and 428 people entered Gaza during the two days. The crossing was last open for humanitarian cases on 31 March; since then, the Egyptian authorities have not allowed any Palestinians, including the four categories of travelers previously classified as humanitarian cases, to cross into Egypt.

According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, despite the three days opening last week (29, 30 and 31 March), thousands of people including medical cases, students and holders of visa to third countries are stranded in Gaza due to the limited opening times and long delays in crossing into Egypt.

This week, the Erez and Kerem Shalom crossings with Israel continued routine operations similar to last week. Between 30 March and 5 April, approximately 1,014 truckloads of goods entered Gaza through Kerem Shalom crossing. This volume of truckloads represents around five per cent more than the weekly average of 963 truckloads that have entered per week since the beginning of 2014. Kerem Shalom is the only operational commercial crossing between Gaza and Israel, following the closure of the three other commercial crossing points between 2008 and 2011.

Power shortages continue in Gaza

Between 25 and 31 March, some 1,149,029 million litres of fuel entered Gaza for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP), allowing the plant to function partially and produce 60 MW of electricity, with scheduled electricity outages up to 12 hours per day. Power cuts continue to disrupt daily life inside Gaza, particularly access to basic services including water, waste water and medical services.

The amount of fuel being allowed entry daily through Kerem Shalom for the GPP is only enough to power daily operations (currently the GPP operates at half of its full capacity), but not enough to allow the GPP to build up reserves. The expected closure of Kerem Shalom next week due to Jewish holidays may create fuel shortages and force the GPP to shut down completely if adequate fuel reserves are not made available in the coming days.

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