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

Key issues

One Palestinian woman killed and around 90 Palestinians injured in multiple clashes across the West Bank.

An Israeli man killed in the West Bank, the first such fatality in 2014.

The Gaza Power Plant shuts down one of its two operating turbines.


Heightened clashes result in the killing of a Palestinian woman and over 90 injuries

The number of Palestinian injuries, from multiple clashes across the West Bank, increased by almost five-fold this week compared to last week (94 vs. 18). The majority of injuries were caused by rubber-coated metal bullets (31 injuries) and from inhaling tear gas (34); this is the highest number of injuries recorded in a single week in nearly five months. Injuries from rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas inhalation, accounting for 41 per cent each, were also the cause of the majority of Palestinian injuries in 2013.

Between 8 and 14 April, Ayda refugee camp in Bethlehem witnessed violent clashes between residents and Israeli forces, leading to the death of one Palestinian woman (aged 44) on 13 April, who died after a tear gas canister fired by Israeli forces fell near her house. In addition, 42 Palestinians, including 20 children, were injured. Recurrent confrontations take place at the entrance of the camp, which, according to the residents, are mainly triggered by the presence of a military tower at the entrance. So far this year, 58 people, including 23 children, have been injured in similar confrontations in the camp.

In separate clashes this week, 19 Palestinians were injured in Qaryut village in Nablus; ten during a search-and-arrest operation in Salfit city; and one in the Al Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem. Two Israeli soldiers were also injured in the latter incident. In addition, 11 Palestinians and two international activists were injured this week in three weekly demonstrations against the prolonged closure of the main entrance of Kafr Qaddum and the expansion of Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya); the closure of An Nabi Saleh village’s main entrance; and the construction of a section of the Barrier on Ni’lin village’s land (both in Ramallah).

Also on 10 April, Israeli forces bulldozed about 12 dunums of land, uprooted 300 olive saplings and damaged retaining walls and fences in land in the Khallet an Nahla area in Bethlehem. According to the Israeli authorities, the land is designated as state land, but Palestinians claim ownership over it.

One Israeli killed and other Israelis and Palestinians injured in settler-related incidents

On 14 April, an Israeli civilian was killed and his wife and a child (aged 9) were injured when Israeli cars were fired upon while they were travelling near Idhna village in Hebron. The Israeli military are searching for the perpetrator. This is the first such fatality reported since the beginning of 2014; there were four Israeli fatalities in the West Bank in 2013. Also this week, an Israeli settler was hit by a stone and injured near a gate leading to the Old City of Jerusalem.

There were three incidents that led to Palestinian injuries this week and four others that led to damage to property by settlers. In two incidents on 8 and 11 April, settlers threw stones at Palestinian-plated vehicles driving near Bitar Illit settlement (Bethlehem), injuring a five-year-old child and damaging two vehicles. In addition on 12 April, settlers physically assaulted and injured two female students (aged 12 and 13), while the girls were on their way to school from Tuba to At Tuwani village in Hebron. Israeli settlers also physically assaulted and injured three Palestinians in Pisgat Ze’ev settlement in East Jerusalem. In addition, four Palestinian boys were physically assaulted and injured by Israeli forces, who intervened after verbal exchanges between the boys and Israeli settlers in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron city (H2).

In one incident on 9 April, settlers from Bitar Illit settlement threw a Molotov cocktail, damaging 25 Palestinian-owned olive trees belonging to Nahhalin village. Sewage leakage from the settlements of Efrata in Bethlehem and Shilo, Shevu’at Rahel and Eli in Nablus also damaged dozens of dunums of land and some olive trees.

Demolition of donor-funded shelters displace dozens

This week, Israeli authorities demolished 15 residential and livelihood structures, eight of which were funded by donors. As a result, over 40 people, around half of whom were children, were displaced and the livelihoods of 34 others affected. Another livelihood structure for storing scrap metal was self-demolished by their owners in Deir Samit community (Hebron) after receiving a demolition order, affecting four families, comprising 26 people.

On 9 April, the Israeli authorities disassembled and seized three donor-funded residential shelters in Jabal al Baba Bedouin community in the E1 area (Jerusalem). As a result, 19 people, including ten children, were displaced. The same day, the Israeli authorities issued final demolition orders against 18 residential structures (all provided by donors) in the community, which had received stop-work orders on 23 February, affecting dozens of people. Jabal al Baba is one of 18 Bedouin communities to the east of Jerusalem at risk of forced displacement due to an official ‘relocation plan’ advanced by the Israeli authorities. This area has been allocated for the expansion of Israeli settlements, including as part of the E1 plan, which entails the construction of thousands of settlement housing and commercial units, with the aim of creating a continuous built-up area between the Ma’ale Adumim settlement and East Jerusalem. There are at least 200 donor-funded structures, including residential caravans, in the Jerusalem area, with either stop-work or demolition orders, with an estimated cost exceeding 1 million shekels.

On 10 April, Israeli forces took down and confiscated five tents in Al Ja’wana Bedouin community in the Jordan Valley, including three residential shelters and two kitchens, displacing three families comprising 24 members, including around ten children. The structures were erected in response to an earlier demolition in the community that took place a week ago. The remaining demolished structures included two water cisterns used to irrigate around six dunums of land planted with seasonal vegetables, two agricultural rooms and two bathrooms on 8 April in the Farsh al Hawa area in Hebron.

Seven Palestinians including three children injured in the Gaza Strip

Despite the general calm in the Gaza Strip and southern Israel, a number of cross-fence incidents were reported this week. Armed Palestinians fired at least two projectiles towards southern Israel causing no injuries. There were no reports of Israeli airstrikes. In three incidents on 9 and 10 April, Palestinians opened fire at Israeli patrol vehicles near the fence separating Gaza and Israel, east of Deir Al Balah. In response, Israeli forces fired three shells towards the source of fire. No injuries were reported.

This week Gaza saw a relative increase in the number of civilian injuries as a result of Israeli shooting incidents in the vicinity of the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land. In five separate incidents, seven Palestinians, including three children, were injured by live ammunition. On 10 April, a 17-year-old Palestinian was reportedly injured when Israeli forces opened fire at a group of Palestinian youths approximately 300 metres from the fence, east of Jabalia. Also, on the same day, armed Palestinians reportedly detonated an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) near an Israeli observation post at the fence northwest of Beit Hanoun. In response, the IDF opened fire towards Palestinians in the vicinity of the former Erez Industrial zone. As a result, three Palestinian scrap and rubble collectors aged 19, 24 and 26 were injured. On 11 April, two demonstrations took place in the ARA near the fence and evolved into clashes between Palestinian civilians and Israeli forces, resulting in the injury of two children (both 16-years-old). Another seven first aid personnel received medical treatment on the site due to tear-gas inhalation in one of the demonstrations. A 20-year-old civilian was also injured when Israeli forces opened fire towards a group of Palestinians collecting rubble in the same area on 13 April.

During the week, Israeli forces detained four civilians who attempted to cross the fence into Israel. On at least two occasions, Israeli forces entered approximately 200 meters inside Gaza with tanks and bulldozers to conduct land-leveling operations.

Additionally, on seven occasions this week, Israeli naval forces opened warning shots at Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the Israeli-imposed six-nautical-mile fishing limits; no injuries were reported.

10 year-old-child injured by unexploded ordnance

On 13 April, an 11-year-old Palestinian child was reportedly injured by an unexploded ordnance (UXO) while he was playing with it inside his home in Khan Younis. He sustained moderate injuries and amputation of his fingers and was evacuated to a nearby hospital. The total number of victims of all explosive remnants of war (ERW) in the Gaza Strip, from 2009 to date, is 164 civilians, including 98 children, of whom 19 are fatalities, including 12 children.

Rafah Crossing remains closed for humanitarian cases

On 8 April, Rafah Crossing was open specifically to allow for the return of approximately 710 pilgrims to Gaza. 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, due to the restrictions and the long closures of the crossing, thousands of people including medical cases, students and holders of visas to third countries are stranded in both Gaza and inside Egypt waiting to cross through. Due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on movement via the Erez crossing, Rafah Crossing remains the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians.

Increase of power shortages in Gaza during Jewish holidays

On 11 April, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) was forced to shut down one of its two operating turbines ahead of the closure of Kerem Shalom due to the Jewish holidays and in anticipation of increased fuel shortage at the plant. Since then, the GPP is only able to run a single turbine out of four and is producing around 30 megawatts (MWs). Recent weeks have seen a decline in the volume of fuel entering Gaza for the GPP; since the beginning of April, an average of 185,000 litres of fuel were delivered to the GPP daily compared to around 300,000 litres per day between mid- December 2013 and end of March 2014. As of 14 April, the GPP reported that the plant has around 500,000 litres of fuel reserves enabling it to continue running on one turbine for the next four to five days. According to the Gaza Electrical Distribution Company (GEDCO), the impact of the increase in power cuts (currently up to 12 hours per day) will be limited due to low demand for electricity at this time of the year.

On 14 April, Israeli authorities closed Kerem Shalom crossing, the only functional goods crossing between Gaza and Israel, until 15 April due to the Jewish holidays. On average, around 250 truckloads of goods including fuel, foods and medical supplies enter Gaza through Kerem Shalom every day.

The impact of the closure of Kerem Shalom is exacerbated by the complete halt of the activity of the illegal tunnels between Egypt and Gaza. In addition to the shortage of fuel supply to the GPP, the closure of Kerem Shalom may lead to a shortage of cooking gas and some food items, such as dairy products and fruit, among other essential items. Erez pedestrian crossing activity is also expected to be limited to the exit of urgent humanitarian cases only on 14 and 15 April and during the coming Jewish holidays.

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