Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT): Response to the Escalation in the OPT – Situation Report # 3: June 4-10, 2021 – Occupied Palestinian Territory
Highlights In Gaza, up to 8,500 internally displaced people (IDPs) remain with host families and in two UNRWA schools.
Damage to basic infrastructure and public services limits the supply of electricity, health services and running water.
Clashes continued across the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. Israeli forces killed three Palestinians in Jenin.
Members of the humanitarian community raised about $ 13 million of the $ 95 million needed to fully implement the emergency response plan, to support 1.1 million Palestinians for three months.
Overview of the situation Gaza Strip No serious incidents have been reported since the entry into force of the ceasefire on 21 May. According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the escalation, 256 Palestinians, including 66 children and 40 women were killed in Gaza, of whom 128 are believed to be civilians, 62 members of armed groups and 66 are undetermined. About 245 of them, including 63 children and 40 women, were apparently killed by Israeli forces.
Nearly 2,000 Palestinians were injured during hostilities in Gaza, including more than 600 children and 400 women, some of whom may suffer from long-term disabilities requiring rehabilitation. On June 9, a nine-year-old boy was killed and his older brother was seriously injured by the explosion of an explosive remnants of war (ERW), which they discovered near their home in the Az Zaitoun neighborhood of Gaza City.
At the height of the escalation, 113,000 displaced people sought refuge and protection in UNRWA schools or with host families. There are still around 8,500 displaced people, including 247 people in two UNRWA schools, mainly those whose homes have been destroyed or so badly damaged that they are uninhabitable. According to local authorities, around 15,130 housing units were damaged, as were several water and sanitation facilities and infrastructure, 141 public schools and 33 health facilities.
The Ministry of Education and UNRWA ended the school year on June 3 and 10 respectively, due to persistent power and internet outages and damage to school infrastructure. Although damaged power lines and power grids have been reconnected, daily power cuts have increased to 12 hours a day across Gaza since June 1, also due to the inability of the Gaza power plant to resume normal operation due to lack of fuel. Due to long hours of power cuts and damage to infrastructure, around 400,000 people still have irregular access to running water.
Israeli authorities have kept the Erez crossing closed to most Palestinians in Gaza, except for urgent medical referrals, including cancer patients. In the first week of June, they approved 43% of referrals of patients to Israel or the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, up from 13% in the last week of May.
They also kept the Kerem Shalom crossing open for the entry of specific commodities, including fodder and medical supplies as well as fuel for the private sector and for UNRWA. All other imports are prohibited. Since May 10, the Israeli authorities have not authorized the release of any goods.
Aid trucks, including food and medicine from Egypt and other countries, continue to enter through the Rafah crossing point with Egypt most of the time, as does food, fuel and building materials through the Salah Ad Din gate.
Since May 25, the Israeli authorities have authorized the resumption of fishing off Gaza, but only up to six nautical miles offshore.
West Bank, including East Jerusalem During the reporting period, clashes between Israeli forces and Palestinians continued throughout the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. In the early hours of June 10, Israeli infiltrators shot dead three Palestinians and seriously injured at least one man during a military operation in Jenin. According to the Palestinian health ministry, two of the dead and the injured man were members of the Palestinian security forces, as the circumstances of the incident are still unclear.
On June 4, Israeli forces injured 293 Palestinians in two separate protests against the construction of new Israeli settlement outposts near the villages of Beita and Beit Dajan in Nablus. During the Beita incident, the Palestinian Red Crescent Society reported that Israeli forces wounded 26 Palestinians with live ammunition and 46 with rubber-coated metal bullets. According to OHCHR (link is external), “on the basis of direct monitoring by OHCHR, the use of lethal force does not appear to be justified and raises concerns about excessive use of force”.
Search and arrest operations by Israeli forces have doubled since the escalation of unrest in East Jerusalem in mid-April, compared to the previous weekly average recorded since the start of 2021. During the reporting period 78 Palestinians, including ten children, were arrested in such operations, the majority (24) in the Old City of East Jerusalem.
Attacks by Israeli settlers on Palestinians and their property continued to increase in the West Bank, with four Palestinian residents injured in three incidents in the H2 area of Hebron. A Palestinian was also injured and at least ten vehicles were damaged on Route 60 near the villages of Huwwara and Beita in southern Nablus, apparently by Israeli settlers. In addition, at least 30 olive trees belonging to Palestinians from the village of Nilin (Ramallah) were set on fire, apparently by Israeli settlers from a nearby outpost.
Sheikh Jarrah In East Jerusalem, Palestinian families continue to face threats of forced eviction by the Israeli authorities from their homes in the Karm Al Jaouni neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah, due to legal proceedings brought by Israeli settler organizations. On June 7, the Israeli attorney general announced that he would not intervene in the High Court proceedings regarding the impending deportation of four of the families. The High Court must now schedule a hearing on the families’ leave to appeal application and render a decision accordingly.
Since May 3, Israeli forces have been stationed at the five entrances to Karm Al Jaouni, allowing entry only to the 114 Palestinian residents of the neighborhood (about 29 families, including 37 children), who are ordered to present coins to the neighborhood. identity, as well as Israeli settlers, journalists, ambulances and UN vehicles. These checkpoints were reinforced on May 16 after a Palestinian hit seven members of the Israeli forces with his car, injuring them and then being shot dead. According to the community, access by Israeli settlers was allowed without identity checks by Israeli forces.
On June 5, Israeli police physically assaulted and arrested a journalist while covering a demonstration in Sheikh Jarrah. She was released a few hours later and received a 15-day deportation order, barring her entry into the neighborhood. On June 6, Israeli forces arrested three Palestinian activists from Sheikh Jarrah and Silwan and summoned another for questioning. Palestinians staged a protest outside the Salah Ad Din detention center in East Jerusalem, which led to clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces, with at least 11 Palestinians injured by rubber bullets and stun grenades. Sheikh Jarrah’s two Palestinian activists were released by Israeli police the same day.
On June 10, the Jerusalem District Court deferred until July 8 its decision on an appeal against an eviction order relating to two residential buildings, comprising three apartments, in the Batan al Hawa neighborhood of Silwan in East Jerusalem, challenging a decision issued on December 23, 2020 by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court, which upheld their eviction orders and called for their evacuation from their properties by March 1, 2021. If the eviction took place, a total of three Palestinian families, comprising 20 people, including 12 children, are reportedly forcibly displaced from their homes.