|Four civilians injured by Israeli forces in the Access Restricted Areas (ARA)
Incidents involving Israeli forces opening fire into the Access Restricted Areas (ARA) on land and at sea have continued on a daily basis, with at least 29 such incidents reported during the week. In one incident on 23 January, Israeli forces positioned along Gaza’s perimeter fence east of Jabalia, opened fire at a group of Palestinian stone throwers, injuring one civilian. In at least 13 incidents, Israeli naval forces opened fire at Palestinian fishing boats reportedly sailing within the Israeli declared six-Nautical-Mile (NM) fishing limit, forcing them ashore. In two separate incidents on 21 and 26 January, the Israeli navy opened fire at Palestinian boats west of Beit Lahia, injuring two fishermen by life ammunition, in addition to a fisherman who was injured after falling out of the boat. Three other fishermen and two children, ages 13 and 16 years, were detained on 26 January when the Israeli navy fired warning shots towards their Palestinian fishing boat west of Beit Lahia. According to Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, Israeli naval forces forced all five, to take off their clothes and jump into the sea and swim towards the Israeli naval boat, before detaining them. Their boat was sunk.
During the week, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians, reportedly while they were attempting to infiltrate into Israel through the perimeter fence. In one incident on 23 January, Egyptian naval forces opened fire at a Palestinian boat that reportedly infiltrated inside the Egyptian territorial waters, injured one Palestinian and arrested another. Their boat was confiscated.
Restrictions imposed by Israel on access to land along Gaza’s perimeter fence and to fishing areas along the coast undermine the security and livelihoods of Palestinians. These restrictions prevent access to farming and fishing areas and their enforcement places civilians at serious physical risk.
Failed attempt by displaced Palestinian to set himself on fire in protest against the inability to rebuild his house: UNRWA warns that ‘the quiet’ is at risk
A 50-year-old internally displaced person (IDP) tried to set himself on fire on 25 January, inside an UNRWA collective center in Khan Younis, in protest against the harsh living conditions and his inability to reconstruct his home, following its destruction during the July-August 2014 hostilities. The Palestinian civil defense and police successfully intervened, preempting the attempt.
The man is one of around 12,000 IDPs currently sheltering in UNRWA administered collective centers across the Gaza Strip since the July-August 2015 hostilities, during which Israeli forces destroyed or damaged over 100,000 homes.
In a statement on 27 January 2015, UNRWA warned that only US$ 135 million out of US$ 720 million requested for repairs and rental subsidies has been received, and that all the received funding is already exhausted. The UNRWA director in Gaza, Robert Turner, added that the inability to continue the programme will have “… grave consequences for affected communities in Gaza. People are desperate and the international community cannot even provide the bare minimum – for example a repaired home in winter – let alone a lifting of the blockade, access to markets or freedom of movement. We’ve said before that quiet will not last, and now the quiet is at risk.”
The Gaza Power Plant (GPP) forced to shut down one turbine
On 21 January, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) was forced to shut down one of three operating turbines due to lack of fuel, reducing the production level from 80 to around 60 megawatts. The daily scheduled power outages across the Gaza Strip reverted to up to 18 hours a day. Power cuts continue to disrupt the routine provision of basic services, forcing them to depend on back-up generators, also run by fuel. Between 19 and 26 January, around 145,000 liters of emergency fuel were delivered to around 12 prioritized basic facilities including hospitals.
To run the three turbines, the GPP requires over 450,000 liters per day. In addition to a lack of fuel, the GPP faces a current shortage of fuel storage capacity, which is limited to less than 1.5 million liters. Two large fuel tanks, with capacity of 10 million liters each, were destroyed by Israel during the July-August conflict.