Military order allowing expedited demolitions was implemented again during August. Seven donor-funded structures demolished or seized and 11 placed at risk. 37 per cent increase in demolitions since the start of 2019 compared to 2018.
In the Gaza Strip, one Palestinian, aged 15, was killed on 12 April, and around 450 others were injured, in protests that took place near Israel’s perimeter fence in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ demonstrations. Of all Palestinians injured in the protests during the reporting period, 200 were hospitalized, including 71 injured by live ammunition, according to Palestinian medical sources.
In Gaza, the pollution levels of wastewater discharged to the sea during the first half of 2019 declined by 23 cent compared to 2018. 148 people injured during the Gaza demonstrations since March 2018 have undergone limb amputations, mostly due to bone infections resulting from inadequate treatment. Wave of police raids in Al ‘Isawiya continued during August; less that 2 per cent of people arrested have been indicted.
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On 31 August, a Palestinian died of wounds he sustained from live ammunition fired by Israeli forces in a ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration held the previous day, near Israel’s perimeter fence with Gaza. During the reporting period, 483 Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in the GMR protests, of whom 236 were hospitalized, including 96 children; 99 people were shot with live ammunition. Israeli sources reported that a number of Molotov cocktails and explosive devices were thrown at the Israeli forces. One Israeli soldier was injured.
Longstanding restrictions on the movement of people and goods to and from the Gaza Strip have undermined the living conditions of about two million Palestinians. Many of the restrictions, originally imposed by Israel in the early 1990s, were intensified after June 2007, following the Hamas takeover of Gaza, the imposition of a blockade and the closure of the Rafah Crossing with Egypt. These restrictions limit access to livelihoods, essential basic services and housing, disrupt family life, and undermine people’s hopes for a secure and prosperous future. In recent months, OCHA has witnessed some easing of restrictions such as opening Kerem Shalom crossing on Friday for the entry of Qatari-funded fuel for the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) and an increase in the number of permits issued to business people.
Number of persons displaced so far this year exceeds total for 2018. Ten buildings near the Barrier demolished on security grounds. 24 donor-funded structures demolished or seized during July, the largest such figure in a single month since January 2017.
Nine Palestinians, all reportedly armed, were killed in a series of armed clashes with Israeli forces on both sides of the perimeter fence between Gaza and Israel. Two separate incidents on 1 and 11 August, involving exchanges of fire, resulted in the killing of two Palestinians and the injury of three Israeli soldiers. Another four Palestinians were killed on 10 August, east of Deir al Balah, during an armed clash with Israeli forces positioned at the fence. On 17 August, Israeli forces opened fire from the air at a group of Palestinians, some of whom were reportedly armed and who were approaching the fence, north of Beit Lahiya, killing three and injuring two. In a number of additional incidents, Israeli forces arrested four Palestinians who breached the fence and entered Israel.
Nine residential buildings in East Jerusalem demolished due to proximity to the Barrier, displacing four families and affecting many more. Following a court ruling, a Palestinian family in East Jerusalem evicted from home, which was handed over to Israeli settlers; nearly 200 families face similar eviction threats. Ceasefire understanding in Gaza holds, alongside continuing impediments to the movement of local humanitarian staff. 90,000 children participated in UNRWA/UNICEF summer camps in Gaza, which provided recreational activities and psychosocial assistance in a safe environment.
On 26 July, a 23-year-old Palestinian was shot and killed with live ammunition in the Gaza Strip during the weekly ‘Great March of Return’ (GMR) demonstration near the perimeter fence with Israel. This was the first fatality recorded in the GMR demonstrations since 10 May 2019.
The first half of 2019 has recorded an increase of 50 per cent in overall demolitions and 78 per cent in donor-funded structures demolished, compared to the equivalent period in 2018. Six communities in firing zones across the West Bank targeted with demolitions. 20 donor-funded structures were demolished or seized, and four others reportedly stolen by settlers.