This Week in Palestine: Qassam Count and OCHA Weekly Report (12 – 18 May)

[tweetmeme] Violence during this reporting period was down significantly from the previous period (5-11 May).  The number of Palestinians injured by Israeli forces dipped considerably (24 down to 5, as well as 5 Israeli activists) while there one reported reported fatality.  Since the beginning of the year 700 Palestinians and 78 Israelis have been injured and 24 Palestinians, 4 Israelis and 1 foreign national have been killed in the West Bank and Gaza.  There are conflicting reports of the number of rockets fired at Israel (2 in the previous reporting period).  Like every week, the UNOCHA report can be found here and the Qassam Count can be followed here.

  • One Palestinian was injured at a checkpoint in the Jerusalem area and two others were injured at a protest of the barrier construction in the village of Bil’in.  The five Israeli activists were injured at two separate protests – in Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem and against the expansion of the Hallamish settlement near Ramallah.
  • 350 dunams of grazing land and 5 dunams of olive groves were set on fire by IDF tear gas containers during protests.
  • There were 9 incidents of injury or property damage due to Israeli settler actions.  One resulted in the death of a 15-year-old boy who was shot after throwing stones at a settler car.  Other incidents include the injury of 6 Palestinians, including 3 children, aged 5, 12 and 16.  Other settler actions include throwing stones at a village school (‘Urif, Nablus) and leveling of village property (Jalud, Nablus).
  • There were 4 injuries to settlers due to Palestinian actions.  2 were injured in East Jerusalem after clashes between Israelis and Palestinians during ‘Jerusalem Day’ celebrations.  The other 2 were injured when Palestinians opened fire on a settler car.  23 smashed headstones were also found at a Jewish cemetery in the Mount of Olives area of East Jerusalem
  • There have been demolitions of Palestinian structures in Area C of the West Bank for over a month, but stop construction notices have continued to be delivered.
  • The Israeli army completed the rerouting of the security barrier around the Alfe Menashe (Qalqiliya), by order of the Israeli supreme court.  The new barrier releases 3 villages (Ad Dab’a, Wadi Ar Rasha and Ras at Tira [total population of 884]) from the closed zone where they had been isolated from the rest of the West Bank for the past 7 years.  The new route does isolate 2 new villages (‘Arab ar Ramadin al Janubi and ‘Arab Abu Farda, combined population of 338) and valuable farm land.  The new route also prohibits around 60 children from reaching their schools.
  • In Gaza, an elderly man was shot and killed by Israeli forces when he was visiting the grave of his wife near the Israeli-imposed buffer zone.  Another Palestinian was injured while collecting rubble near the buffer zone.  Additionally, a child was seriously injured when a UXO detonated while he was working the fields with his family.
  • 1 Palestinian was killed and 3 others were injured when the Egyptian navy opened fire on a fishing boat entering Egyptian waters.  Authorities also confiscated the boat.  The Israeli navy shot warning fire at 2 other vessels, forcing them ashore.
  • Hamas demolished 12 houses that were illegally built on government land, displacing 31 families consisting of 190 individuals.  The governing group also handed over the first of a scheduled 1,000 rebuild housing units that were destroying in the Cast Lead invasion of 2008-2009.
  • 3,681 Palestinians exited Gaza through the Rafah crossing into Egypt when the checkpoint was opened for 6 days.  Another 529 people entered the strip.
  • The import of industrial fuel to Gaza continued to decline this reporting period (approximately 0.85 million litres of fuel compared to 1.35 million last period).  This represents merely 27% of the fuel needed to run the power plant at full capacity.  The result is a continuation of the rolling blackouts across Gaza.  Cooking gas imports also declined (899 vs. 920 tonnes), representing 64% of the weekly need.
  • Imports into Gaza declined by 11% from the last reporting period (637.5 vs. 713 truckloads).  No exports left the strip for the 3rd consecutive week.

There were conflicting reports of projectiles fired at Israel this week.  Qassam Count reports no projectiles, but the OCHA report mentions that “Palestinian armed factions fired a number of rudimentary rockets towards southern Israel.”  There were no reports of injuries or fatalities.

This reporting period marks a decrease in violence between Israelis and Palestinians, particularly in the West Bank.  This is important because of the potential for violence due to the celebrations of Jerusalem Day by the Israelis and An Nakba Day by the Palestinians.  The continued siege of Gaza is unrelenting, though the predicted arrival of the ‘Freedom Flotilla‘  could provide some relief in the upcoming weeks.

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