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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
5 May 2014



Key issues

At least 180 Palestinian-owned trees vandalized by Israeli settlers.

23 Palestinian-owned structures demolished in Area C and East Jerusalem due to lack of permits, displacing around 30 people, including 18 children.

Rafah Crossing between Gaza and Egypt re-opens for two days for limited cases; thousands on waiting lists to leave.



WEST BANK

Dozens injured in clashes with Israeli forces in search-and-arrest operations and weekly demonstrations

During the reporting period, 42 Palestinians, including 11 children, were injured by Israeli forces in multiple clashes that took place across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Among those injured; 18 were shot with rubber-coated metal bullets, 14 were treated for tear gas inhalation, six were physically assaulted, and three were shot with live ammunition.

A total of 16 Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces in the course of search-and-arrest operations in Nablus and Salfit cities, ‘Asira al Qibliya (Nablus) and Abu Dis (Jerusalem) villages, and Silwan neighborhood (East Jerusalem). A total of 76 search-and-arrest operations were conducted during the week, slightly below the weekly average since the beginning of the year (91).

In addition, 12 Palestinians were injured in weekly demonstrations against the expansion of Qedumim (Qalqiliya) and Halamish (Ramallah) settlements and against the Barrier in Bil’in village (also in Ramallah).

Six other Palestinians were injured in clashes with Israeli forces deployed at a flying checkpoint at one of the entrance to the Al ‘Isawiya neighborhood in East Jerusalem on 4 May. Checkpoints at this site are regularly deployed by the Israeli police, disrupting the access of people to services and places of work.

Over 180 olive trees damaged by Israeli settlers

Four settler attacks were recorded this week, all of which resulted in damage to Palestinian property with no reports of Palestinians injuries. On the other hand, an Israeli woman and a child were injured in two separate incidents by Palestinians, who threw stones at the vehicles in which they were traveling on roads in the Ramallah governorate.

Three of the incidents affecting Palestinians involved vandalism to at least 185 olive trees and seedlings, including at least 80 olive seedlings uprooted near Qedumim settlement (Qalqiliya); 54 trees uprooted

near Bat ‘Ayin settlement (Bethlehem); and 46 trees cut down near Talmon settlement (Ramallah). Since the beginning of the year, over 6,700 trees have been damaged by settlers, compared to nearly 3,500 in the equivalent period of 2013.

The remaining incident that led to damage to property entailed stone-throwing at Palestinian vehicles driving near Kiryat Arba’ settlement in Hebron. In addition, more than five dunums of land were bulldozed by settlers from Havat Gal outpost in Hebron, reportedly to expand the outpost.




GAZA STRIP


More than 20 structures demolished in area C and East Jerusalem

This week, the Israeli authorities demolished 21 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and two others in East Jerusalem, displacing 39 people, including 23 children, and affecting 20 others. Most of the Area C demolitions took place in Khirbet Tell al Khashabeh Bedouin community (Nablus) on 30 April, targeting three residential structures, four animal shelters, two water cisterns, the community’s mosque, and seven other structures used as toilets and kitchens. A total of 27 people, including 18 children were displaced. Two of the structures were provided by an international donor.

Another house and a water cistern were demolished in the Jabal al Jouhar area in the old city of Hebron on 30 April, displacing a family of eight, including five children. On the same date, two recently constructed houses were also demolished in an Area C near Al ‘Arroub refugee camp in Hebron, affecting ten people, including six children.

The two demolitions in East Jerusalem, both on 29 April, affected a residential caravan, displacing four people, and a zinc-roofed room made of bricks in At Tur. Clashes erupted between the residents of the caravan and Israeli forces, resulting in two Palestinian injuries.

A number of demolition orders were also issued this week, affecting a house in Hebron and a water cistern and an animal shelter in Bethlehem. Last week (not reported), the Israeli authorities issued stop-work orders and demolition orders against five residential structures funded by international donors in the North Bir Nabalah Bedouin community (Jerusalem) and five others in Fasayil al Fauqa (Jordan Valley)




Rafah crossing re-opened for humanitarian cases

On 29 and 30 April, the Egyptian authorities reopened Rafah Crossing in both directions for the entry and exit of humanitarian cases, including patients, students, and foreign passport and visa holders to third countries. Around 350 people entered Gaza and more than 1,600 left to Egypt and other countries. The crossing was last open for humanitarian cases between 29 and 31 March 2014; until the 29 April re-opening, the Egyptian authorities did not allow any Palestinians, including the four humanitarian categories, to cross into Egypt. The crossing was also open between 4 and 6 May, specifically for the exit and entry of pilgrims and Palestinians stranded on the Egyptian side of the crossing. During these three days, approximately 808 people left Gaza on pilgrimage and 554 people entered Gaza, most of whom were pilgrims. According to the Border and Crossing Authority in Gaza, despite the two-day limited opening, at least 5,000 are registered to cross into Egypt, mainly medical patients, students and holders of visa to third countries. The registration office closed while many more were queuing to register.

Kerem Shalom Crossing closed due to Israeli holidays; power shortages continue

On 5 and 6 May, the Israeli authorities closed the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the only functional goods crossing between Gaza and Israel, due to Israeli 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 in the activity of the illegal tunnels between Egypt and Gaza, which were formerly used to smuggle construction materials for the private sector and subsidised Egyptian fuel. In addition to the shortage of fuel supply to the Gaza Power Plant (GPP), the closure of Kerem Shalom Crossing often leads to shortages of cooking gas and some food items such as dairy products and fruit among other essentials.

The (GPP) continues to run two turbines out of four, producing around 60 megawatts (MWs). Recent weeks have seen a decline in the volume of fuel entering Gaza for the GPP through Kerem Shalom crossing as a result of the crossing closure due to Israeli holidays; since the beginning of April, around 349,000 litres of fuel have been delivered to the GPP per day (on average) compared to around 510,000 litres delivered daily during the second half of December 2013, when the Qatari Government started funding fuel for the GPP. This decline is primarily due to administrative challenges in the purchase of fuel by the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah (which received the Qatari donation and delivers the fuel to Gaza), compounded by the closure of the Kerem Shalom crossing during the Jewish/Israeli holidays. The GPP needs at least 600,000 liters of fuel per day in order to run at full capacity and produce around 120 MWs. According to the Gaza Electricity Distribution Company (GEDCO), the schedule of power cuts is currently up to 12 hours per day, forcing people to rely on unsafe methods to light their houses. According to Al Mezan Center for Human Rights, since 2012, 18 people, including 16 children and a woman, have been killed and 11 others, including 9 children injured in their houses in electricity-related incidents.


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