|Three Palestinians injured and over 70 alive trees damaged by Israeli settlers
This week, OCHA recorded four settler-related incidents; one resulted in the injury of three Palestinians and three caused damage to over 70 olive trees, with no incidents against Israeli settlers. The number of attacks by Israeli settlers that lead to casualty or damage during this week is two below the weekly average since the beginning of 2014 (until 10 March).
The most serious of this week's incidents took place on 16 March, when a group of Israeli settlers threw a glass bottle at public Palestinian transport near Za'tara checkpoint (Salfit), injuring three of its passengers and causing damage to the vehicle.
In another incident that took place in the Old City of Hebron on 17 March, Israeli settlers threw a tear gas canister inside a Palestinian house on Al Shalaleh Street, resulting in no injuries or damage, as the family was able to evacuate the house immediately. Systematic attacks by Israeli settlers, along with Israeli forces' restrictions on the movement of Palestinian residents in that part of the city, have forced thousands to leave their homes in recent years.
Also this week, Israeli settlers reportedly cut down or otherwise damaged 73 Palestinian-owned olive trees in three separate locations. The largest incident took place in Jalud village (Nablus), where 55 trees were sprayed with a chemical substance and damaged, according to the village council. The trees were planted on a plot of land located in Area B, between the Esh Kodesh and Ahia settlement outposts. In recent years, residents of Jalud, farmers in particular, have suffered from systematic attacks and intimidation by settlers from these two outposts, undermining their agricultural livelihoods and safety. The rest of the trees damaged during the week were located in Susiya (Hebron) and Burin (Nablus) villages, allegedly by Israeli settlers from Susiya and Bracha, respectively. These incidents bring the number of trees vandalized by Israeli settlers since the beginning of 2014 to 3,850, compared to 2,000 trees damaged during the equivalent period in 2013.
The low level in demolitions continue: a Palestinian Bedouin family displaced in Jerusalem
The low level of demolitions witnessed since the beginning of February 2014 continued during the period. During the week, two structures were demolished in Area C (no demolitions were recorded in East Jerusalem), a decline compared with the weekly average for the previous month.
On 12 March, the Israeli authorities demolished a house in the Bedouin community of Jabal al Baba (Jerusalem), due to the lack of an Israeli-issued building permit, displacing a family of 10 people, including five children. The family reported not being given sufficient time to evacuate their belongings prior to the demolition. In late February 2014, another 18 structures in this community, funded by international donors, were issued demolition and stop work orders. Jabal al Baba is one of 18 Bedouin communities in the hills to the east of Jerusalem, which are at risk of forcible transfer 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 El plan, which entails the construction of thousands of settlement housing and commercial units, creating a continuous built-up area between the Ma'ale Adummim settlement and Jerusalem.
On the same day, also in Area C within the Jerusalem governorate, the Israeli authorities demolished a car-wash facility owned by a Palestinian family in Al 'Eizariya town, due to a lack of an Israeli-issued permit. The same facility was demolished on 17 February this year and later reconstructed.
During the week, Israeli authorities issued seven demolition and stop-work orders against three houses, one of which is inhabited, in Bani Naim village; against two water cisterns in Al Fakhiet (both in Hebron); and against several animal barracks in Beit Nuba and Beit Liqya villages (Ramallah), affecting at least five families.