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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
8 April 2016

Reporting period: 29 March - 4 April 2016

Weekly Highlights

‚óŹ For the first week in almost six months there have been no Palestinian nor Israeli fatalities recorded. 88 Palestinians, including 18 children, were injured by Israeli forces across the oPt. The majority of injuries (76 per cent) were recorded during demonstrations marking 'Land Day' on 30 March, including six injured next to the perimeter fence in the Gaza Strip, followed by search and arrest operations. The latter included raids in Azzun `Atma (Qalqiliya) and Ya'bad (Jenin) involving property damage and the confiscation of two vehicles, and a forced entry into a school in Ras Al Amud in East Jerusalem. On 30 occasions, Israeli forces opened fire in the Access Restricted Area (ARA) at land and sea in Gaza, injuring two Palestinians as far as 350 meters from the fence. Additionally, Israeli naval forces shelled a fishing boat west of Rafah city, destroying it completely.

Israeli forces continued to ban the passage of Palestinian males between 15 and 25 years old through two checkpoints controlling access to the H2 area of Hebron city. This comes in addition to other severe restrictions on Palestinian access to this area in place since October 2015. During the reporting period, Israeli forces removed the restrictions imposed last week on Beit Fajjar village (Bethlehem), which prevented most residents from exiting and entering the village. This came following a Palestinian attack on Israeli soldiers near Salfit, during which the suspected perpetrators were killed. Israeli forces also opened the western entrance to Hebron city, which connects to road 35 and to the commercial checkpoint of Tarqumiya.

On 31 March and 4 April, the Israeli authorities carried out four punitive demolitions in Hebron city and Qabatiya (3enin) against the family homes of the suspected perpetrators of two attacks that took place in December 2015 and February 2016. Twenty-one (21) Palestinians, including seven children, were displaced as a result, three adjacent structures sustained damage, and 15 injuries were recorded during clashes that erupted between Palestinians and Israeli forces during two of the demolitions. Since January 2016, 12 structures have been demolished on punitive grounds, displacing 62 persons, including 27 children. In November 2015, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the oPt called for an end to the practice, noting that "punitive demolitions are a form of collective penalty, which are prohibited under international law."

The Israeli authorities demolished 36 structures due to the lack of Israeli-issued building permits. As a result, 28 Palestinians, including 11 children, were displaced and 110 others were affected. Of the structures, 16 were located in East Jerusalem, five in the Ramallah governorate, five in Jericho governorate; four in Jenin governorate; four in the Nablus governorate, and two in Hebron governorate. Of the total, four structures were donor-funded, including a two-kilometer agricultural road in Qaryut. In Jinba, located in the Masafer Yatta area, which is designated by the Israeli authorities as a "firing zone" for military training, Israeli forces confiscated around 160 sheep on the grounds that they were grazing near the 1949 Armistice Line "Green Line". The total number of demolitions carried out in 2016 (513) is 94 per cent of the total demolished in all of 2015 (547).

On 23 March, Israeli forces took over an inhabited house in Ya'bad village (3enin) and apparently converted it into a military observation point, affecting three families of 25 members, including 19 children. According to the owner, Israeli forces claim that Palestinians have hurled stones at Israeli settler vehicles from the area.

An Israeli settler vehicle sustained damage in a stone-throwing incident by suspected Palestinians in the Hebron governorate. On two occasions during the week in Huwwara village (Nablus), Israeli forces forced around 250 shops to close for several hours in response to alleged stone-throwing by Palestinians in the area.

A Palestinian vehicle sustained damage as a result of stone-throwing on the Ramallah- Nablus road in the West Bank. Additionally, at least three incidents of intimidation were recorded, involving the eviction of shepherds, including two children, from grazing land around the Israeli settlements of Yitzhar (Nablus), Mitzpe Yair (Hebron) and Carmel (Hebron).

On 3 April 2016, the Israeli authorities expanded the fishing area, along the southern Gaza coast, from 6 to 9 nautical miles, while retaining the current 6 nautical mile fishing limit along the northern coast. While restrictions have been ongoing since 1999, since 2013, Israeli has enforced, including through arrests, opening fire, and confiscating/destroying property, a 6-nautical mile fishing limit along the entire Gaza coast, with a 1.5 nautical mile "no-go-zone" along the northern maritime boundaries between Gazan waters and Israel. The Oslo agreements provided for a 20 nautical mile fishing limit. Over 35,000 Palestinians depend on this industry for their livelihoods.

As of 3 April, the Israeli authorities suspended the import of cement into Gaza for the private sector, following allegations that a substantial amount had been diverted from its intended legitimate beneficiaries. The import of cement into Gaza for the private sector had resumed, as part of the GRM mechanism, in October 2014, following a sweeping ban that had been imposed since 2007.

Since 26 March, the Gaza Power Plant was forced to reduce operations by 50 per cent (producing 35 MWs) due to the lack of fuel, and causing a daily average of 18 hours of power outages. The provision of basic services, including health and water, can only be preserved at the current time by the distribution of emergency fuel.

The Egyptian-controlled Rafah Crossing was closed in both directions during the reporting period. The crossing has been closed, including for humanitarian assistance, since 24 October 2014, except for 42 days of partial openings. Authorities in Gaza indicated that around 30,000 people with urgent needs, including around 3,500 medical cases, are registered to cross.

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