oPt

Occupied Palestinian Territory (oPt): Response to the escalation in the oPt - Situation Report No. 8 (8-28 July 2021)

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Highlights

  • On 14 July, the Israeli authorities confiscated 49 structures, including homes, animal shelters and solar power systems, in addition to water tanks, tractors and animal fodder in the Bedouin community of Ras al Tin, Ramallah. Thirteen households, comprising 84 people, including 53 children, were displaced.

  • In Gaza, about 8,220 internally displaced people (IDPs) remain with host families or in rented accommodation.

  • Palestinian armed groups launched incendiary balloons from Gaza sparking fires in Israel. Israeli forces carried out airstrikes targeting a number of military sites in Gaza, and reduced to 6 nautical miles (NM) the fishing zone, affecting about 50,000 people relying on the fishing sector.

  • Israeli forces in the West Bank killed three Palestinians, including two children, in different incidents; and injured at least 1,090 others, including 141 children. A fourth Palestinian succumbed to his wounds sustained during the 10-21 May escalation.

  • The humanitarian community has raised US$51 million of the $95 million requested in the emergency response plan to support 1.1 million Palestinians for three months.

Situation overview

Gaza Strip

While the ceasefire has largely held since 21 May, during the reporting period Palestinian armed groups in Gaza sporadicly released incendiary balloons, causing fires in Israel. In response, on 25 July, Israeli air forces struck military targets in Gaza. On 25 July, the Israeli authorities reduced the permissible fishing zone from 12 to 6 NM off Gaza’s southern shore, affecting up to 50,000 people relying on or working in the fishing sector. The fishing zone off the southern shore had been expanded from 9 to 12 NM on 12 July, and the limit imposed off the northern shore remained at 6 NM throughout the period.

According to the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), during the escalation in Gaza in May, 260 Palestinians were killed, including 66 children. It has been assessed that 129 of the fatalities were civilians and 64 were members of armed groups, while the status of the remaining 67 has not been determined. Over 2,200 Palestinians were injured during the hostilities, including 685 children and 480 women, some of whom may suffer a long-term disability requiring rehabilitation.

At the height of the escalation, 113,000 IDPs sought shelter and protection at UNRWA schools or with hosting families. According to the Ministry of Social Development, there are still about 8,220 IDPs living with host families or at rented accommodation, primarily those whose houses were destroyed or so severely damaged as to be uninhabitable.

A Rapid Damage and Needs Assessment (RDNA) carried out between 25 May and 25 June revealed that the escalation resulted in losses of up to US$380 million in physical damage and an additional economic loss of $190 million. The RDNA was conducted by the World Bank Group, the UN, and the European Union, in close cooperation with the Palestinian Authority (PA) and in consultation with civil society and private sector actors in Gaza.

The local authorities in Gaza have finalized a damage assessment of houses that were damaged during the escalation, according to which, 1,255 houses were destroyed, 918 housing units sustained severe damage and are deemed uninhabitable and some 50,000 houses sustained minor damage. In addition, 331 schools and kindergartens operated by the government, UNRWA or private actors, as well as 33 health facilities sustained damage. Ministry of Public works and Housing in Gaza announced that the majority of the rubble generated during the escalation has been removed, and the removal will be completed by the end of this month.

The Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Cluster reports that, during the escalation, 290 WASH facilities were damaged or destroyed, including water wells, water pumping stations, and distribution networks.

Due to the reconnection of most electricity lines and the resumption of Qatari-funded fuel into Gaza, designated for the Gaza Power Plant, electricity is available for an average of 14 hours per day across Gaza, compared with twelve hours per day in the previous reporting period and 16 hours per day right before the May esclalation.

Despite the Israeli authorities eased some movement restrictions for Palestinian patients since the cessation of the hostilities, still, two of every three patients who apply for such permits do not get an approval by the time of their scheduled appointment. On 15 July, the Israeli authorities announced that national staff of international organizations with Gaza IDs are allowed to exit Gaza with Israeli-issued permits to Israel or the West Bank. In addition, on 27 July, Israel announced that national staff of international organizations with Gaza IDs and holding Israeli issued permits are allowed to travel abroad through the Allenby bridge with Jordan. Despite these recent announcements, the vast majority of Palestinians in Gaza remain prohibited from exiting, as has been the case since the imposition of the blockade 14 years ago.

On 12 July, the Israeli authorities announced the easing of some restrictions at the Kerem Shalom commercial crossing, permitting the entry of medical equipment, fishing and farming equipment, cleaning products and medicine, textiles, shoes, school supplies, and more commodities. Construction materials and items considered to have potential dual civilian/military use remain largely prohibited by the Israeli authorities. On 27 July, the Gaza Municipality warned that Israeli-imposed import restrictions had caused the continuous suspension of 13 infrastructure projects since May, including roads rehabilitation and the repair of sewage networks and other infrastructure.

Aid, including food and medicine from Egypt and other countries, continue to enter through the Rafah crossing on most days. The Egyptian authorities have also kept the crossing open for the entry and exit of authorized travellers, including Palestinians injured in the recent escalation who are receiving medical treatment in Egypt. They are also allowing commercial supplies such as food, fuel and construction materials to enter Gaza through the Salah Ad Din gate.

West Bank, including East Jerusalem

On 14 July, the authorities, confiscated 49 structures in the Palestinian herding community of Ras al Tin (Ramallah). Thirteen households, comprising 84 people, including 53 children, were displaced and are at heightened risk of forcible transfer. Indeed, they have not left the area, and are leaving in borrowed tents. The seized structures included homes, animal shelters and solar power systems. Other items, including water tanks, tractors with trailers and animal fodder were also confiscated by the Israeli forces, with some being reportedly heavily damaged in the process. According to the community members, Israeli officials ordered the community, which is in Area C of the West Bank, to move to Area B.

On 15 July, Israeli forces dismantled and confiscated a tent in Humsa – Al Bqai’a in the northern Jordan Valley. The structure had been installed outside of the Israeli-declared ‘firing zone,’ to accommodate a family of eight, including six children, who had lost their previous home in the mass demolition inside the ‘firing zone’ on 7 July. While the Israeli authorities still forbid any shelter assistance in the community, no other cases of humanitarian access denial have been reported since 13 July.

Four Palestinians, including two children, died after being shot by Israeli forces before or during the reporting period, and Israeli forces injured at least 1,090 others, including 141 children, in various incidents across the West Bank. Since the beginning of the year, Israeli forces killed 50 Palestinians, including 11 children, and injured at least 11,231 others, including 584 children, across the West Bank. For more information about these incidents, please refer to the Protection of Civilian reports.

On 27 July, a Palestinian man was shot and killed in the city of Hebron reportedly due tue a dispute between Palestinian families, followed by civil unrest in the city, involving the use of firearms by the family of the deceased and destruction of properties. Palestinian forces were deployed to the scene and a nightly curfew was declared in the city by the Hebron governor.

During the reporting period in Beita, Nablus, at least 939 Palestinians, including 127 children, were injured by Israeli forces during clashes that erupted during almost daily protests against Israeli settlement expansion and the agreement reached between the Israeli government and Israeli settlers of the newly established Evyatar settlement, erected on Palestinian-owned land near Beita. While the settlers vacated the settlement on 2 July, Israeli forces have since been stationed to guard the buildings erected, awaiting the decision by Israeli authorities if the land can be classified as ‘state land’ and whether a Jewish religious seminary can be established on the site. Since the establishment of the settlement in early May, Israely forces killed five Palestinians, including two children, and injured at least 3,077 others, including 381 children, in similar incidents.

On 18 July, about 1,600 Jewish Israelis, including settlers, accompanied by Israeli police officers, entered the Haram al Shareef/Temple Mount compound in East Jerusalem on the occasion of Tisha B’Av, the annual commemoration of the destruction of the Jewish Temples; it was two days before the Islamic holiday of Eid al Adha. Palestinians wanted to physically prevent the access of Jewish Israelis to the compound and reportedly some threw stones; Israeli forces fired rubber bullets, stun grenades and tear gas at Palestinians inside the mosque, prevented Palestinian access into the compound for several hours and arrested at least 20 Palestinians, including three women.

Sheikh Jarrah

Palestinian families still face the threat of forced eviction by the Israeli authorities from their homes in the Karm Al Jaouni area of Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem, due to court cases initiated by Israeli settler organizations. Since 3 May, Israeli forces have been stationed at all five entrances to Karm Al Jaouni, allowing entry only to Palestinian neighbourhood residents, who are ordered to present identifying documents, as well as to Israeli settlers, journalists, ambulances and UN vehicles.

The Israeli High Court of Justice is set to hold a hearing on 2 August regarding the forced eviction of four of the families. On 26 July, Israeli authorities issued a demolition order against the solidarity tent erected by the community in the neighbourhood.

On 14 July, the Jerusalem Municipality, accompanied by Israeli forces, took measurements of one of the houses at risk of demolition in Silwan, indicating a possible imminent demolition. Since 8 July, Israeli forces have arrested nine Palestinians in Silwan.

In Beit Hanina, another Palestinian family is at risk of forced eviction by Israeli authorities, having exhausted all domestic legal remedies. Starting from 8 August, some 25 Palestinians may be displaced at any time.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.