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Violence and hostilities in Gaza, Israel and the West Bank continue at high intensity.
The casualty toll continues to rise as a result of the most serious escalation between armed groups in Gaza and Israeli forces since the 2014 hostilities. Israeli military sources have indicated that the operation will continue for as long as necessary and there are reports of Israeli forces preparing for a possible ground operation.
The recent escalation has already seen children and other civilians killed and injured; it must stop to avoid more deaths and injuries. The situation will likely increase humanitarian needs, in particular in the Gaza Strip, following years of the Israeli blockade, Palestinian political divisions and recurrent escalations. The health sector, already struggling, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, must be able to respond to those who are injured.
Tension in East Jerusalem has been escalating in recent weeks, centring on the Sheikh Jarrah and the Old City areas. Between 7-10 May alone, 1,000 Palestinians were injured by Israeli security forces, 735 of these due to rubber bullets.
On 22 February, the Israeli Civil Administration (ICA), accompanied by the military, returned to the Palestinian herding community of Humsa-Al Bqai’a and confiscated another 18 residential and animal structures. In addition, to food parcels and unassembled structures, the ICA also confiscated all water tanks, leaving the community with no drinking water or water for their livestock. Most of the structures had been provided as a humanitarian response following incidents on 3 and 8 February, in which 37 structures were demolished or confiscated. Ten households, comprising over 60 people, including 36 children, were again displaced and are at heightened risk of forcible transfer.
Yesterday, I visited the community of Humsa – Al Baqai’a which is situated some hundreds of metres into a firing zone in the Northern West Bank. In accordance with Israel’s domestic legal process, the homes and belongings of the families living there were demolished or confiscated five times by the Israeli authorities since the beginning of February. Tents, food, water tanks and fodder for their livestock have all been confiscated despite repeated calls by the international community for these actions to stop in accordance with international law. As we have noted previously, situations where communities are put under pressure to move raises a real risk of forcible transfer.