A recent report issued, by the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), on the latest developments in Palestinian territories, published on December 6.
According to the report, demonstrations in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ continued for the 36th successive week, resulting in the injury of 272 Palestinians by Israeli forces, with no fatalities reported. Among the total number of injuries, 79 occurred during marches to protest restrictions on fishing areas in the northern Beit Lahia area.
On at least 31 occasions outside of the above-mentioned demonstrations, Israeli forces opened fire, inside the Access Restricted Areas (ARA), on land and at sea, in Gaza, injuring one child who approached the perimeter fence, the report stated, according to Al Ray Palestinian Media Agency.
Three fishermen were detained, while the livelihoods of Palestinian farmers and fishermen were disrupted. On two occasions, Israeli forces carried out leveling and excavation activities along the perimeter fence inside Gaza.
On 26 November, a 32-year-old Palestinian man was shot and killed by Israeli forces, after he reportedly drove his vehicle into a group of soldiers stationed on the main road near Beit Ummar village, in Hebron, injuring three of them; his body has been withheld by the Israeli authorities, the report added.
According to Palestinian eye witnesses, the incident appeared to be a car accident; Israeli media sources indicated that it was a deliberate attack. Since the beginning of 2018, thirteen Palestinians have been killed during attacks, or alleged attacks, against Israelis in the West Bank.
During the period, 41 Palestinians, including eight children, were injured by Israeli forces during multiple protests and confrontations in the West Bank. Of the total, 34 injuries were recorded in protests near Huwwara checkpoint (Nablus), in protest of Israel’s detention of the Palestinian Authority’s Governor of Jerusalem, and in the context of the weekly protest against access restrictions and settlement expansion in Kafr Qaddoum (Qalqilia).
Another seven injuries occurred during confrontations which erupted following two search and arrest operations, out of a total of 176 such operations carried out during the reporting period. Of all the injuries, 16 were caused by rubber-coated metal bullets, and 21 as a result of tear-gas inhalation or direct hits by tear gas canisters, which required medical treatment.
Citing the lack of building permits, the report said Israeli authorities demolished or seized 33 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, including two structures which were provided as humanitarian assistance. As a result, 16 people, including six children, were displaced and 226 persons were affected. Twenty-four of the targeted structures were in East Jerusalem and nine were in Area C.
The largest incident took place in the Shu’fat refugee camp of East Jerusalem, where 19 structures were demolished, affecting the livelihood of 179 people, on the grounds of lacking building permits in an area designated for a road.
In the Jabal al Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities demolished an apartment built on the rooftop of a residential structure, displacing a family of four.
In Area C, two of the structures demolished were donor-funded water tanks, provided as humanitarian assistance in response to a previous demolition in the community of Suba (Hebron). Also in Area C, another three residential structures were demolished, displacing thirteen people.
On 28 November, the Gaza wastewater treatment plant resumed partial operation, after a complete disconnection of water supply to a number of neighborhoods, due to damage sustained during an Israeli airstrike on 12 November.
According to the report, Gaza municipal personnel managed to repair some of the damage and to resume water supply to hundreds of affected households.
Since early November, power supply has increased to at least eleven hours per day, due to funding by the Government of Qatar, for fueling the power plant, improving the delivery of basic services, including sanitation facilities.
At least eleven attacks, by Israeli settlers, resulting in Palestinian property damage were reported.
Around 85 Palestinian-owned trees were vandalized by Israeli settlers in Turmus’ayya village (Ramallah), according to village council sources. In another five incidents, in Al Mughayyir (Ramallah), Al Jab’a (Bethlehem), Beit Iksa (Jerusalem) and Asira al Qibliya and Huwwara (both in Nablus) villages, Israeli settlers punctured the tires of 52 vehicles and sprayed offensive graffiti on some of the vehicles and on the wall of a school, in addition to a mosque and several houses.
Israeli settlers and other Israeli groups entered various religious sites in the West Bank, triggering altercations and violent confrontations with Palestinians, which ended with no injuries.
The affected sites included Al-Aqsa Mosque, in East Jerusalem, and a shrine in Sabastia village (Nablus).
According to the report, settler violence and vandalism have been on the rise since the beginning of 2018, with a weekly average of five attacks, resulting in injuries or property damage, compared with an average of three in 2017 and two in 2016.
The Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing between Gaza and Egypt was opened in both directions throughout the reporting period, excepting five days. A total of 1,280 people entered Gaza and 2,611 exited.
The crossing has been almost continuously open, five days a week, since 12 May 2018.