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

Key issues

The bodies of three abducted Israeli youths found near Hebron city.

One Palestinian civilian killed and another 60 injured in clashes with Israeli forces across the West Bank; a total of six Palestinians killed and nearly 240 injured by Israeli forces in the West Bank since 13 June.

Rocket firing and air strikes in Gaza and southern Israel continue; a Palestinian child killed and 25 Palestinians and three Israeli civilians injured.

Concern over further deterioration of health services in the Gaza Strip, due to the energy crisis and shortages of essential drugs.


Israeli forces locate the bodies of the three abducted Israeli youths

On the evening of 30 June, the bodies of the three Israeli youths abducted on 12 June were found near Halhul town (Hebron). Media reported that they were killed shortly after their abduction. Israeli military operations focused immediately after on certain areas of the Hebron governorate, reportedly to capture the two Hamas members accused of the killings. . Military operations have been widespread in the West Bank since 13 June,

The United Nations Secretary-General strongly condemned the killings and called upon all parties to “abide by their obligations under international law and to refrain from any actions that could further escalate this highly tense situation.”

Israeli military operations continue; one Palestinian fatality and 60 injuries in clashes

The Israeli military operations that started on 13 June continued during the reporting period, including raids and search and arrest operations in refugee camps, villages and cities across the West Bank. These operations triggered violent clashes with Palestinian residents, which resulted in the injury of 32 Palestinians, including six with live ammunition and 18 with rubber-coated bullets. Also this week, on 25 June, a 22-year-old Palestinian man died of injuries he sustained in clashes that took place during the previous reporting period (20 June) in Qalandiya refugee camp, bringing the number of Palestinian civilians killed in these circumstances since the beginning of the operations to six. Additionally, a 78-year-old woman died of a heart attack, shortly after Israeli forces exploded the main door of her house in Al ‘Arrub refugee camp, as part of a search operation (not included in the above count).

In one of the operations conducted in As Samu’ village (Hebron) on 25 June, an Israeli undercover unit broke into the house of a wanted Palestinian man and shot him several times with live bullets, severely injuring him; the circumstances of the incident remain unclear. The man was subsequently arrested and transported to an Israeli hospital for medical treatment.

Overall, during the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted 192 search-and-arrest operations, during which 183 Palestinians were arrested. While most of the operations took place across the Hebron governorate, certain localities in other West Bank areas were also targeted; in the village of Awarta (Nablus) at least 200 houses were searched leading to the arrest of two Palestinians. Operations targeting Islamic charitable societies, allegedly linked to Hamas, continued across Hebron governorate, including in Yatta, Surif, Beit Ummar, Beit Ula and Sa’ir; confiscation of computers and files, as well as damage to furniture was reported.

Additional clashes were recorded during the weekly demonstrations against the Barrier in Ni’lin, Bil’in (Ramallah) and Al Ma’sara (Bethlehem) villages; against settlement expansion in An Nabi Saleh village (Ramallah), and against access restrictions in Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya); the latter clashes resulted in the injury of five Palestinians.

Concern over potential wave of retaliatory attacks by Israeli settlers

On Monday night, following the announced discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli youths, Israeli settlers gathered at several junctions in the southern West Bank (including Gush Etzion, Beit Ummar, north Halhul and Haggay settlement junctions) and threw stones at Palestinian-plated vehicles, causing minor damages.

A series of incidents were also recorded in the Israeli-controlled part of Hebron city (H2), including the stoning of Palestinian houses; one of the incidents led to clashes with Palestinian residents, which resulted in the injury of one Palestinian, who was physically assaulted by an Israeli soldier who intervened. A similar incident earlier in the week (25 June) in the H2 area of Hebron, resulted in the injury of ten Palestinians, including two children and two women, who were physically assaulted by soldiers who intervened when Israeli settlers threw stones at Palestinian houses. Since the beginning of 2014, a total of 59 Palestinians were injured in the West Bank by Israeli forces during settler attacks. On 29 June, a 9-year-old Palestinian child was physically assaulted and injured by a group of Israelis in the Shu’fat area of East Jerusalem; according to witnesses, the latter tried to abduct the boy.

In another two incidents during the week, a group of Israeli settlers from Qedumim and Eli settlements reportedly cut down a number of olive trees belonging to farmers from the adjacent villages of Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya) and Qaryut (Nablus). The precise scope of damage could not be assessed, as Palestinian access to both areas is restricted and requires prior coordination with the Israeli authorities. In the southern West Bank, Israeli settlers from Betar Illit settlement reportedly set fire to an agricultural room and damaged an irrigation network on a plot of land belonging to farmers from Husan village (Bethlehem). Also in the Bethlehem area, Israeli settlers from Bat Ayin settlement cut down 15 olive trees belonging to family from Beit Ummar village.

Movement restrictions in Hebron continue

Most of the access restrictions affecting Hebron residents that were imposed upon the start of the military operations have remained in place during the reporting period, despite some fluctuations.

Male residents of Hebron governorate aged between 16 and 50 continued to be prevented from crossing the Wadi an Nar checkpoint, which controls the single route available for most Palestinians between the central and southern West Bank, as well as from traveling to Jordan via the Allenby Bridge. Permits to access East Jerusalem, Israel and some settlement areas remain invalid. In addition, the Israeli Civil Administration announced this week that the upcoming measures aimed at facilitating Palestinian access to East Jerusalem during the month of Ramadan will not apply to Hebron’s residents.

While access restrictions around Hebron city were eased during most of the reporting period; on 30 June they were re-imposed, and in some cases tightened, following the finding of the three Israeli youths’ bodies. All entrances to Hebron city, and the adjacent towns of Halhul, Idhna and Tarqumiya, have been either totally blocked or are controlled by checkpoints.

Houses of two suspects of Israeli youths’ killings partially destroyed

Shortly after the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli youths, Israeli forces evacuated the families of the two individuals suspected of the killings from their respective apartments in Hebron city, and conducted explosions in both of them, partially destroying the apartments. Six persons, including four children, relatives of the two alleged perpetrators were consequently displaced. A one year old infant was injured by shrapnel of glass from the explosion of one of the houses and a boy (aged 16) was injured by a rubber-coated metal bullet in clashes that erupted following the explosion. According to an IDF spokesperson, cited in the Israeli media, the explosions were carried out in order to blow up the doors, fearing that they might be booby-trapped.

Additionally, on 1 July, the Israeli High Court of Justice sanctioned the punitive demolition of parts of the house of the family of a Palestinian from Idhna village (Hebron) suspected of the killing of an Israeli police officer in April 2014. The policy of punitive demolitions by the Israeli authorities was officially suspended in 2005 and, with the exception of one case in East Jerusalem in 2009, not implemented since then.

Demolitions and confiscations

This week there were no reports of demolitions in Area C of the West Bank, due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. However, Israeli forces delivered stop-work orders against a number of residential and commercial structures in Area C of Tulkarm city and in Barta’a ash Sharqiya village (Jenin); a requisition order affecting dozens of dunums of land planted by Palestinians near Ma’ale Shomron settlement (Qalqiliya). Also this week the Israeli authorities confiscated 15 water tanks provided by an international donor to the Area C community of Khallet an Nahla in Bethlehem; another 11 tanks were damaged.

In East Jerusalem, the Israeli authorities partially demolished an uninhabited building located in the Shu’fat Refugee Camp, on the “West Bank side” of the Barrier, due to the lack of permit. The structure was being renovated through a community-based initiative. Also in East Jerusalem, the Municipality demolished a commercial booth in the Old City.


Escalation in hostilities: Palestinian child killed and 25 Palestinian and three Israeli civilians injured

Israeli air-strikes in Gaza and Palestinian firing of rockets towards southern Israel continued every day during the reporting period. One of the rockets fired by a Palestinian armed group on 24 June dropped short in Gaza, hitting an area near a house in Beit Lahiya, killing a threeyear-old child and injuring another three children. Another rocket hit a plastic factory in the city of Sderot, setting it ablaze,

and injuring three Israeli civilians (28 June). A series of Israeli air strikes conducted on 24 and 25 June targeting alleged military sites and open fields resulted in the injury of ten civilians, including five children; as well as in significant damage to property, including at least eight houses, two workshops and 450 trees. On 27 and 29 June, the Israeli Air Force targeted and killed two members of an armed group while they were travelling in the Beach refugee camp, and targeted and killed another member in the Al Qarara area, injuring two others. Since the beginning of 2014, Israeli forces have killed at least 5 members of armed groups in similar operations. Another child was injured on 29 June in an air strike on a military base in Khan Younis.

In another incident on 27 June, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) was detonated near the fence, damaging an Israeli military vehicle which was patrolling the area. Israeli forces responded by shelling an area in Khan Younis, injuring 8 civilians, including 2 children and 3 women. In two incidents, on 26 and 28 June, Israeli forces stationed at the fence opened fire towards Palestinians collecting scrap metal and others present in the area, respectively, injuring 3 civilians.

On at least three occasions during the reporting period, Israeli naval forces fired warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the Israeli-imposed six-nautical-mile fishing limits. While no injuries were reported, some fishing equipment was damaged as a result.

Update on Gaza crossings: limited opening of Rafah along ongoing closure of Erez

On 29 June, the Egyptian authorities re-opened Rafah Crossing after 11 days of complete closure, allowing over 2,000 people, mainly pilgrims, and some humanitarian cases to cross in both directions. According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, due to the frequent long closures, at least 10,000 prioritized travelers are registered and waiting to cross into Egypt, mainly medical patients, students and holders of visa to third countries. In June 2013, prior to the change in the modality of operation of the crossing, an average of 1,860 people crossed through every day.

The Erez crossing between Gaza and Israel, which was accessible for a limited number of permit holders, has remained closed since 13 June, allowing only pre-authorized urgent humanitarian cases and foreign nationals to leave and enter Gaza.

The Kerem Shalom commercial crossing remained open during the week, allowing in around 1,190 truckloads of imported goods, however, since 9 June, no exports were allowed out of Gaza, reportedly due to technical difficulties with the scanning equipment used at the crossing. While the exit of goods from Gaza to the West Bank and Israel, the main markets for Gazan products, has been banned since the imposition of the blockade in 2007, following the easing of the blockade in 2010, small amounts of agricultural exports are allowed to overseas markets.

Gaza Power Plant continues to operate at half capacity

Following the exhaustion of Qatari funds donated for the purchase of fuel for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) on 25 June, the Ministry of Energy is purchasing limited amounts of fuel allowing the GPP to operate at half of its capacity, running two of its four turbines. Currently, Gaza receives less than 45 per cent of the required power supply and as a result is experiencing scheduled power outages of 12 hours per day. Electricity shortages, combined with the lack of fuel, continue to affect the delivery of basic services. The Energy Authority is considering redirecting electricity supply to keep the operation of specific vital installations, including hospitals, major water wells as temporary measures, which would entail increasing power cuts in other areas, affecting households.

Concern of further deterioration in the health sector

Health services have been particularly affected by the power cuts, which disrupted the routine functioning of the health system, and led to a halt in all non-urgent elective surgeries. Emergency fuel reserves required to run the back-up generators at hospitals are at less than a third of their capacity, sufficient to cover less than two weeks only.

This has been compounded by ongoing shortages: about one quarter of essential drugs and more than half of medical disposable items are at zero stock level at the Central Drugs Store. 200 pallets of medicine and medical disposables were sent from the West Bank to Gaza last week, however, WHO indicates that this shipment will not cover the current shortages.

As a result of this deterioration there has been a sharp increase in the volume of patients seeking medical treatment outside Gaza, including in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. According WHO, during the month of May, the number of applications for permits to leave Gaza via Erez for health treatments increased by nearly 50 per cent compared to the monthly average in 2013.

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