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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
9 June 2014

Key issues

Over 30 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces in clashes across the West Bank.
A civilian died of wounds sustained when he was shot by Israeli forces while fishing off the shore near the fence in Gaza two weeks ago.
Salaries of tens of thousands of public sector employees in the Gaza Strip withheld; clashes between the Palestinian Police and protestors.

Over 30 injured in clashes with Israeli forces

A total of 33 Palestinians were injured during the week by Israeli forces across the West Bank, a decline compared to the weekly average of such injuries recorded since the beginning of the year (44). More than 60 per cent of the injuries were sustained by rubber-coated metal bullets (21) and the rest were treated due to tear gas inhalation (3) and physical assault (3), or hit by live ammunition (3), sound grenades (2) or tear gas canisters (1). The majority of this week’s injuries (21) occurred during clashes that erupted in the context of demonstrations commemorating the 47th anniversary since the beginning of the Israeli occupation and, in some places, also protesting against the Barrier and in solidarity with prisoners under Israeli administrative detention, who are on hunger strike. The largest confrontations were recorded in the Old City of Jerusalem, at the Qalandiya (Jerusalem) and Beituniya (Ramallah) checkpoints, in Ar Ram town (Jerusalem), in Al ‘Arrub refugee camp and Beit Ummar village (both in Hebron), and in Ni’lin and Bil’in villages (Ramallah).

In another incident, on 3 June, dozens of Palestinian youth gathered next to a military tower at the entrance of Beit Ummar village (Hebron) and threw stones at Israeli forces positioned there. The latter responded by shooting rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters, injuring four children (aged between 8 and 17). Israeli forces closed an already existing metal gate at the main entrance to the village on 8 and 9 June, forcing people to use a detour.

Low level of settler-related violence

A total of three incidents perpetrated by Israeli settlers and resulting in damage to Palestinian property were recorded during the week, a decline compared to the weekly average of settler attacks leading to injuries or damage to property recorded since the beginning of the year (7). Two additional incidents perpetrated this week by Palestinians resulted in damage to Israeli settler-owned property.

On 8 June, Israeli settlers from the Kokhav Hashahar settlement (Ramallah) reportedly set fire to and damaged a six dunum plot of land, belonging to a farmer from the adjacent village of Deir Jarir, planted with wheat. The other two incidents resulted in damage to two Palestinian-owned vehicles, one of which was stoned while travelling on Road 60 in the Ramallah area, and the other which was damaged near the entrance to Beit Ummar village, after the driver abandoned it when he was ambushed by a group of settlers.

In two separate incidents in the Hebron governorate on 3 and 6 June, Palestinians stoned a car and a bus carrying Israeli settlers while travelling near Negohot settlement outpost and Al ‘Arrub refugee camp, damaging the vehicles.

Five structures demolished, affecting 36 people

This week, the Israeli authorities demolished a total of five Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the West Bank due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits, a significant decline compared to the weekly average of structures demolished in 2014 (14). As in the previous week, none of the demolitions resulted in displacement. There were no demolitions recorded in East Jerusalem.

All of this week’s demolitions occurred on 9 June. One of the targeted structures was a newly-constructed house, still uninhabited, located in Far’un village (Tulkarm) at some 120 meters of distance from the Barrier, affecting seven persons. The other four structures were vegetable booths erected along Road 90 in the Tubas governorate, affecting the livelihood of four households comprising 29 people, including five children.

Also this week, the Israeli authorities handed over stop-work orders against four residential structures and eight animal barracks in the Bedouin community of Khirbet ar Ras al Ahmar in the Tubas governorate. Three of the residential structures were provided by a humanitarian organization. The community is located on the edge of an area designated by the Israeli authorities as a closed military zone for training, or “firing zone”. There are a total of 88 communities located in or near “firing zones” in Area C of the West Bank. These communities are among the most vulnerable in terms of humanitarian needs.

A civilian shot near the fence died of his wounds

The situation across the Gaza Strip and southern Israel remained relatively calm. There were no reports of Israeli airstrikes or major clashes, and rockets fired by Palestinian armed groups landed in open areas in southern Israel and in Gaza, resulting in no injuries or damage.

While the Israeli restrictions on access to areas near Gaza’s perimeter fence continued, no incidents resulting in casualties were recorded. However, on 8 June, a 51-year-old civilian died of wounds he sustained on 26 May, after being shot by Israeli forces while fishing off the shore, reportedly at 300 meters from the northern section of the perimeter fence. This brings the total number of Palestinian civilians killed by Israeli forces in the Gaza Strip since the beginning of the year to six, of whom four were killed in the Access Restricted Areas (ARAs) on land and at sea, compared to two in the equivalent period of 2013 (both in the ARAs).

Additionally, on at least two occasions this week, Israeli naval forces opened warning fire towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the six-nautical mile fishing limit, forcing them ashore. No injuries or damage was reported. Restrictions on access to fishing areas continue to affect the livelihood of over 35,000 Palestinians who depend on the fishing industry sector as their main source of income.

Update on Rafah crossing

On 4 June, the Egyptian authorities re-closed Rafah Crossing after it was partially re-opened for three days last week, allowing around 2,500 “prioritized travelers”, mainly pilgrims, to cross in both directions. According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, at least 10,000 “prioritized travelers” have registered and are waiting to cross into Egypt, including patients, students and holders of visa to third countries. Since July 2013, the Rafah Crossing has been opened erratically, restricting access to only limited categories of people. This has exacerbated the impact of the longstanding restrictions on the movement of people through the Israeli-controlled Erez Crossing, the main access route to the West Bank.

Gaza banks closed by local police

Since 4 June to date, the Palestinian Police closed all banks and ATM machines across the Gaza Strip, preventing thousands of people, who have been employed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) before the Hamas takeover in 2007, to withdraw their salaries. This measure was allegedly adopted to prevent further clashes between employees of the former Hamas-run government and PA employees. The former (approximately 40,000 employees) were protesting the withholding of their salaries by the newly inaugurated National Consensus Technical Government. The Al Mezan Center for Human Rights reported a few cases involving physical assault of people trying to reach the banks by the Police.

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