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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
17 February 2014




Key issues

Increased used of live fire against Palestinian civilians: one killed and 43 injured in the West Bank and Gaza.

Israeli authorities demolish 17 structures and displace 24 Palestinians in Area C of the West Bank.


WEST BANK

Live ammunition shootings against stone-throwers continue

This week, Israeli forces injured 26 Palestinians including eight children, across the West Bank, 19 of whom were injured during clashes in various contexts. Of this week’s injuries, ten were caused by live ammunition, five by rubber-coated metal bullets, four were bitten by police dogs at Israeli checkpoints, three resulted from physical assaults, and three due to suffocation following teargas inhalation.

Clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinian stone throwers near Al Jalazun Refugee Camp (Ramallah) continued during the week, resulting in the injury of nine Palestinians, including three children, most of them on 14 February. The frequency and intensity of clashes in this location has intensified over the past three weeks, following the killing of a worker from the camp (See Protection of Civilians Weekly Report - 28 January 2014 - 3 February 2014). Since the beginning of 2014, a total of 41 camp residents, including six children, have been injured in clashes with Israeli forces; 83 percent of these people were shot and injured by live ammunition.

Another five Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in clashes that erupted during search-and arrest operations, including three children shot with live ammunition in the village of Qabatiya, and a man severely beaten in the village of Tura al Gharbiya (both in Jenin governorate).

Five additional injuries occurred in two incidents at Israeli checkpoints in the Nablus governorate. The first, which took place at Hamra checkpoint, resulted in the injury of four men who were bitten by dogs that are used by checkpoint staff to inspect vehicles and passengers. In 2011, the Israeli military lifted the permit requirement for Palestinians using this

checkpoint, which controls access to the northern Jordan Valley. However, strict checking and search procedures have remained in place: passengers are obliged to get out of vehicles and walk through a fenced lane for individual inspection, while the drivers remain in their vehicles on the road and get inspected separately. The other incident occurred at a “flying” checkpoint south of Nablus city, when Israeli forces opened fire with live ammunition at a taxi that crossed it, allegedly because it did not stop for inspection; a 17-year-old girl passenger was injured as a result.


A Palestinian man injured and 200 olive trees uprooted by Israeli settlers

This week witnessed three settler-related incidents, of which one resulted in a Palestinian injury, and two in damage to Palestinian-owned agricultural property. No incidents affecting Israeli settlers were reported this week.

One of the most serious incidents this week took place on 11 February, when a group of Israeli settlers from Ma’ale Levona severely beat and injured a 40-year-old Palestinian from Al Lubban ash Sharqiya village (Nablus), living in a house adjacent to the settlement and isolated from the rest of the village. This incident comes in the context of longstanding attempts by Israeli settlers to take over the house and the adjacent water well.

On the following day (12 February), Israeli settlers from Susiya settlement uprooted 200 olive saplings owned by a Palestinian family from the village of Susiya (Hebron). Later in the week, the Israeli High Court of Justice rejected a petition submitted by Palestinian farmers from this area, requesting the return of a large plot of land taken over by settlers from the same settlement, on grounds that the appropriation is not recent enough to trigger an administrative evacuation by the Civil Administration.

On 13 February, Israeli settlers from Teqoa settlement planted 250 olive trees on a plot of land, over which two Palestinian families from the adjacent Tuqu’ village (Bethlehem) claim private ownership. Three days later a group of Palestinians and international activists were prevented from planting olive saplings on an adjacent plot after being intimidated and ordered to leave by Israeli forces and settlers. In recent years, the takeover and subsequent cultivation of private Palestinian land has become a regular means of settlement expansion, undermining Palestinian livelihoods.

In the village of Kafr Qaddum (Qalqiliya), Israel set­tlers from Qedumim settlement leveled and laid a line for the disposal of sewage water produced by a house in the settlement. The affected land is pri­vately-owned by Palestinians and planted with ol­ive trees, but access to it is only allowed during the olive harvest season, following coordination with Israeli forces. These restrictions on access began 12 years ago when the Israeli authorities opened a road to the settlement and closed it for Palestinians’ access with a gate.

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Three herding families displaced for a second time this year in the Jordan Valley

The Israeli authorities demolished eight residential and animal structures belonging to three herding families from the communities of Al Jiftlik (Jericho) and Khirbet Yarza (Tubas) in the Jordan Valley, in areas designated as “closed military zones” for training purposes. A total of 24 people, including nine children, were displaced for the second time in less than a month. At least eight of the demolished structures were provided by donors in response to previous demolitions. The Israeli authorities have demolished a total of 100 Palestinian structures, and displaced 184 people, including 90 children, in the Jordan Valley, since the beginning of 2014. These demolitions come in the context of a significant rise in demolitions and displacement in the Jordan Valley in 2013.

Also in the Jordan Valley this week, 19 families (about120 people) from the herding community of ‘Ibziq were forcibly evacuated from their homes for five hours, to make way for military training in the area. Residents of Al ‘Aqaba and Tayasir villages in the same area were also affected by an ongoing military training, which included tank exercises that damaged crops and spread panic among children.

Additionally, the Israeli authorities demolished another nine animal and commercial structures in the Area C parts of Deir Dibwan (Ramallah) and Al ‘Ezariya (Jerusalem) villages on the grounds that they lacked Israeli-issued building permits; a total of 45 people, including 28 children, were affected as a result. On the same grounds, the Israeli authorities issued at least 10 new demolition and stop-work orders against other Palestinian structures, including six residential structures, a health clinic and a public road in Area C and East Jerusalem.



GAZA STRIP
One civilian killed and another 18 injured along the fence

Shooting incidents by Israeli forces at civilians present in the access restricted areas (ARA) along the fence between the Gaza Strip and Israel continued during the week on an almost daily basis, resulting in the killing of one Palestinian civilian and the injury of 18 others.

On 13 February, a 31-year-old man who was reportedly collecting gravel and scrap metals in an area around 50 meters from the fence east of Gaza City was shot and killed, and another one injured. On the following day, Israeli forces opened live ammunition fire at a group of civilians who approached the fence east of Jabalia, to protest access restrictions, and began throwing stones at Israeli troops, injuring 17 Palestinians, including four children. Since the beginning of the year, a total of 11 people have been injured in this type of protest, constituting all of the injuries in the ARA on land. On two occasions this week, Israeli tanks and bulldozers entered approximately 150 meters inside Gaza, and conducted land leveling operations.

On at least one occasion this week, Israeli naval forces opened warning shots towards Palestinian fishing boats approaching or exceeding the Israeli-imposed six-nautical-mile fishing limit, without injury. In another incident, on 11 February, Israeli forces arrested three fishermen and confiscated two boats while they were reportedly sailing near the Israeli-imposed 1.5- nautical- mile “no-go” sea corridor between Gaza and Israel, west of Beit Lahia.

Palestinian armed groups fired a few projectiles towards southern Israel during the period, two of which fell short inside Gaza, resulting in no injuries or damage. In response, Israeli air forces attacked an open area east of Al Nusairat camp and a military site south of Gaza city, causing damage to an animal farm.


A court sentences a man to death

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) reported that a civil court in Gaza has sentenced a 21-year-old Palestinian from northern Gaza to death after convicting him of killing another man on 30 May 2013. According to PCHR, this is the second death sentence that has been issued since the beginning of 2014. This brings the total number of death sentences issued in the oPt since 1994 to 150, 30 of which were executed.

Rafah Crossing again closed

The Rafah Crossing between the Gaza Strip and Egypt was closed for all but one day during the week, allowing only 290 Gazans to return. This follows an improvement last week when the Crossing opened for five days. Prior to July 2013, Rafah functioned as the primary exit and entry point to the Gaza Strip for Palestinians, due to the long-standing restrictions imposed by Israel on movement via Erez Crossing. The frequent closures of Rafah Crossing are also disrupting the entry of basic construction materials designated for humanitarian projects funded by the Government of Qatar.

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