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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
7 July 2014



Key issues
A 16-year-old Palestinian boy from East Jerusalem was abducted and killed by Israelis in retaliation for the killing.

More than 550 Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli forces during clashes across the West Bank, including 455 (83 per cent) in East Jerusalem.

For the first time in five years, Israeli forces carried out the punitive demolition of parts of the house of the family of a Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli police officer.

Gaza fishing area reduced to three nautical miles.

Egyptian authorities re-closed Rafah crossing.

“Salary crisis” in Gaza continues.



WEST BANK

Clashes spread across the West Bank; one Palestinian killed and over 550 injured

Widespread protests and violent clashes erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli forces throughout East Jerusalem, following the abduction and killing of a 16-year-old Palestinian boy from Shu’fat neighborhood of East Jerusalem on 2 July. The Palestinian boy was burned alive by a group of Israelis, reportedly in retaliation for the abduction and killing of three Israeli youths near Hebron whose bodies were found on 30 June. The unrest spread to other parts of the West Bank. As a result, nearly 570 Palestinian civilians were injured by Israeli forces, including 31 Palestinians by live ammunition, 290 by rubber-coated bullets, 60 by tear gas canister, 146 due to tear gas inhalation, and 36 due to physical assault. Clashes were also recorded at different locations inside Israel.

The majority of the clashes during the reporting period took place in East Jerusalem, during which 453 Palestinians were injured, including 275 (60%) in Shu’fat neighborhood. Seventeen Israeli force members were also injured by stone-throwing by Palestinians during these clashes. Infrastructure of the Jerusalem light rail in Shu’fat and Beit Hanina neighborhoods was set on fire by protestors.

Israeli military operations, including raids on Palestinian villages and search-and-arrest operations, continued this week. Israeli forces raided several villages, mainly in the northern West Bank, triggering further clashes with Palestinian residents. In addition, Israeli forces conducted at least 86 search-and-arrest operations, during which 153 Palestinians were arrested, the majority (66) from Jerusalem governorate. In one such operation in Jenin refugee camp, Israeli special forces killed an 18-year-old Palestinian man; the circumstances of the killing remain disputed.

Most access restrictions on Palestinians from Hebron lifted; Ramadan access to Jerusalem curtailed

As of 7 July, Israel lifted most of the movement restrictions on access to East Jerusalem and Israel that were imposed on Palestinians from the Hebron governorate, following the abduction of the three Israeli youths on 12 June. These applied to 23,000 workers with permits and 3,700 businessmen. In addition, all Palestinians from Hebron are now allowed to travel to the central and northern West Bank via the Wadi Nar checkpoint, as well as to Jordan, and those who meet the Israeli age criteria will be now allowed to enter East Jerusalem for the Friday prayers at Al Aqsa Mosque.

Ramadan Access:

Estimates provided by the Israeli authorities indicated that on the first Friday of Ramadan (4 July), around 11,000 Palestinian worshippers holding West Bank IDs entered East Jerusalem through the checkpoints around the city. This is around 90 per cent decline compared to the numbers of worshippers who crossed in the first Friday of Ramadan 2013. Access restrictions imposed by the Israeli authorities, in particular on Hebron residents are considered to be the reason of this decline. On the first Friday of Ramadan, only Palestinian men over 50 and women over 40 who hold West Bank IDs, excluding residents of Hebron, were allowed to enter Jerusalem through four checkpoints (Qalandiya, Gilo, Shu’fat and Zeytoun) without permits to visit Al Aqsa mosque. In 2013, men above 40, women and girls of all ages, and boys below 12 were allowed access.

Most of the young men (under 50) who were able to cross the checkpoints had either commercial or work permits; according to field reports, the ones who proceeded to the Old City of Jerusalem were denied access and turned back at one of the flying checkpoints deployed in and around the Old City on the grounds that they are under 50 years of age. As a result, thousands prayed on the surrounding streets of Jerusalem’s Old City. According to media reports, a few thousands attended the noon prayers comparing to hundreds of thousands (200-250,000) in 2013 (Jerusalem).


Spike in confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli settlers

Violent clashes between Palestinians and Israeli settlers erupted throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, triggered by the discovery of the bodies of the three Israeli youths and the subsequent abduction and killing of the 16-year-old Palestinian boy, resulting in a number of injuries and property damage on both sides.

Multiple attacks by Israelis settlers and other Israelis against Palestinians were recorded across the West Bank, including incidents of physical assaults, stone-throwing at Palestinian vehicles and houses, gathering at the entrances of Palestinian villages, blocking roads, setting a livelihood structure on fire, and spraying anti-Arab graffiti, among others. There was also a reported attempt to abduct another Palestinian boy. The majority of the incidents took place near Israeli settlements, as well as inside Palestinian communities in East Jerusalem and West Jerusalem.

Eleven of all the incidents recorded resulted in the injury of 13 Palestinians, including three women and another 17 incidents caused damage to Palestinian tens of vehicles and houses. In one incident, an Israeli shot and injured a Palestinian man near the northern entrance of Ar Ram town (Jerusalem).

Also during the period, six Israelis were injured as a result of stone-throwing by Palestinians at Israeli vehicles travelling on roads in the Jerusalem and Jericho governorates. Another Israeli woman sustained injuries after being sprayed with pepper gas by Palestinians in the Old City of Jerusalem. Also in Jerusalem, Palestinians threw Molotov cocktails at a house in Beit Hanina that has been taken over from Palestinians by Israeli settlers two years ago, at Beit Amos settlement in Silwan, at an Israeli military base near Al ‘Isawiya and another near ‘Anata. Molotov cocktails were also thrown towards Israeli forces in Shu’fat and at Rockfeller Museum.

Additionally, five new settlement outposts, erected in memory of the Israeli teens, were reported in the strategic E1 area to the east of Jerusalem, in the Gush Etzion block, and on lands that belong to the Palestinian villages of Halhul, Beit Einoun and Surif in Hebron governorate. In the latter incident, Palestinian residents protested the settler takeover of land, during which a Palestinian man was attacked and severely injured by Israeli settlers. On 7 July, the caravans in the two settlement outposts in Beit Einoun and Surif were removed by the Israeli police and army forces.

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Demolitions in Ramadan and punitive demolition of a Palestinian house;

The Israeli authorities demolished seven Palestinian structures built without Israeli-issued building permits in Area C of the West Bank on 3 July; and partially damaged another structure in Area A as a punitive measure on 2 July. These are the first demolitions recorded since the start of the Muslim month of Ramadan; in previous years demolitions were suspended or declined significantly during this month. Overall, eight people, including four children, were displaced and 49 were otherwise affected by this week’s demolitions.

On 2 July, Israeli forces partially destroying with explosives a house in Idhna (Hebron) belonging to the family of a Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli policeman in April; the demolition was executed a day after the Israeli High Court sanctioned it on punitive grounds. As a result, eight people, including four children, were displaced, and eight others affected. Two 13-year-old boys were injured by an unexploded ordnance left behind by the Israeli forces after this incident. The Israeli authorities officially suspended the policy of punitive demolitions in 2005, and apart from a house in East Jerusalem in 2009, did not demolish any houses in this manner until the policy was revived this week.

The seven structures in Area C included five animal shelters, a guest room and an oven, in Al ‘Aqaba village in Tubas, affecting 41 people, including 21 children. Also in Area C, the Israeli authorities ordered the demolition of 17 houses, five livelihood structures, a community center and a mosque in Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah and Jericho governorates; and confiscated a bulldozer owned by the Palestinian Ministry of Public Works, while it was being used for opening an agricultural road near Migdalim settlement (Nablus). In addition, Israeli forces raided a dairy factory associated with an Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron city and confiscated its equipment. Raids on Islamic associations, allegedly linked to Hamas, have been taking place in the context of Israeli military operations launched following the abduction of the three Israeli youths




GAZA STRIP



Escalation in the Gaza Strip and Israel; Palestinian fishing zone reduced to three nautical miles

During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted a series of airstrikes targeting alleged military sites and open fields across Gaza, leading to the injury of 19 Palestinian civilians, including six children and six women, and causing damages to at least 10 houses, other structures and 30 dunums of greenhouses. Palestinian armed groups continued to fire rockets at several towns in southern Israel, as well as at Israeli forces near the fence separating Gaza and Israel. Some of the rockets were intercepted in the air or hit open areas, however, on 7 July a rocket hit a residential building in Sderot, injuring two Israelis and causing damage. Also, two Israeli soldiers were injured on two separate occasions near a military base close to former Sufa military base and in Eshkol Regional Council.

On 4 July, Israeli forces positioned near the fence east of Al Maghazi Camp, opened fire at Palestinian territory, injuring a Palestinian farmer while he was working his land. In another incident, armed Palestinians fired a shell at Israeli forces positioned on the border, east of Al Maghazi Camp. The forces responded by firing four tank shells and opening fire towards the source of firing; no injuries were reported.

On 6 July, the Israeli air force targeted a group of Palestinians, allegedly members of armed groups, at Al Bureij Camp entrance, resulting in two fatalities and one injury. Another six members of armed groups were injured on 3 and 6 July when rockets exploded at their launching sites. On 7 July Israel launched a military operation codenamed “Protective Edge”. Also, on 7 July, seven bodies of Hamas members were recovered from a tunnel east of Rafah that was reportedly targeted by the Israeli Air Force.

On at least two occasions during the reporting period, Israeli naval forces fired warning shots at 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. On 6 July, the Israeli Minister of Defence approved the reduction of the Palestinian fishing area in the Gaza Strip from six to three nautical miles citing security reasons.


Update on Gaza crossings: Rafah crossing is closed again
This week, the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing with Israel remained open but functioning partially, allowing the entry of limited amounts of goods, mainly food, fuel and medical supplies. No exports have been allowed out of Gaza since 9 June, reportedly due to technical difficulties with the scanning equipment used at the crossing. The Erez Crossing has remained closed since 13 June, allowing only pre-authorized urgent humanitarian cases and foreign nationals to leave and enter Gaza.

On 2 July, the Egyptian authorities re-closed the Rafah crossing after opening it for three days during which around 3,300 people, mainly pilgrims and prioritized cases, crossed 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 sporadically, restricting access to only limited categories of people.

Gaza Power Plant continues to operate at half its capacity

The Gaza Power Plant is currently running on half capacity following a commitment from the Palestinian Energy Authority to provide fuel throughout the month of Ramadan. However, fuel reserves are sufficient to operate the GPP for at the current capacity for less than 1.5 days and it is reported that due to the increased electricity demand combined with the lack of fuel, domestic power cuts have increased as electricity is prioritized for essential facilities such as hospitals or water facilities. Power cuts continue to disrupt the routine delivery of basic services.

Mounting concerns over ongoing salary crisis in Gaza

This week, a number of ATM machines and security cameras were vandalized by unknown gunmen in Gaza. In protest, the eleven banks decided to completely cease operations. It is believed that these incidents are connected to the ongoing salary crisis of former de facto government employees in Gaza. Approximately 40,000 staff in the security services, health and education sectors have not been regularly paid since August 2013 and have received no payment since April 2014.






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