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OCHA reports deteriorating situation in Palestine

March 10, 2014 at 2:32 pm

The UN officer for the coordination of humanitarian affairs in the occupied territories (OCHA) said on Friday that the Israeli occupation’s targeting of Palestinian children is increasing; 15 have been injured during the last week.

OCHA said this was because Palestinian demonstrations against Israeli aggression are increasing. According to the report, 38 Palestinian were injured that week including 15 children, ten of them in the West Bank and five in the Gaza Strip.

“Seven of this week’s injuries resulted from live ammunition, eight from rubber-coated metal bullets, and 23 by teargas inhalation,” the report said.

As a result, OCHA said: “The injury of Palestinian children in clashes with Israeli forces became a key protection concern during 2013, when the number of such injuries doubled compared with the previous year.”

It said that the number of Palestinians injured by the Israelis in 2012 was 526, while in 2013 it was 1,185. It also said it was concerned about the increasing number of children injured by rubber-coated metal bullets during 2013. It means that the Israeli occupation is replacing tear gas with these bullets to disperse crowds.

OCHA said that the Israeli occupation forces confined a number of Palestinian families in the occupied West Bank to their houses because of military exercises.

“On 20 January, 36 Palestinian families comprising of 220 people, half of them children, from the Bedouin communities of Ibziq and Khirbet Yarza near Tubas, were affected by Israeli military training in the area close to their residential structures,” OCHA said.

“During the exercise Israeli forces fired tank shells and live ammunition as a result of which the families had no alternative but to confine themselves to their homes for about 10 hours.”

The organisation said that it recorded 37 incidents of evacuation of Palestinians from their homes in the occupied West Bank by Israeli forces as a result of military training.

“Therefore, a total 343 households comprising over 1,700 persons, were temporarily displaced; some of them on several occasions,” the organisation said. “The affected communities were from Tubas, Jericho and Bethlehem governorates.”

Regarding the closure of the Rafah Crossing and the suffering of the Gaza residents as a result of that closure, OCHA said in its report: “The Rafah crossing remained closed during the entire reporting period last week.”

It said: “Approximately 5,000 people are currently waiting to leave Gaza, including medical and other humanitarian cases. The crossing was last opened on 8 January for just two days after 11 consecutive days of closure, allowing the departure of 900 people to cross into Egypt and the entry of around 1,000 others.”

Regarding the Kerem Shalom crossing, the only entry point for goods between Gaza and Israel, OCHA said: “It has been functioning according to schedule allowing the entry of nearly 900 truckloads of goods, a slight decrease compared with the previous week.”

It also added: “Although the complete ban on the import of building materials, imposed following the discovery of a tunnel into Israel on October 2013, was partially lifted in early December international organisations implementing projects approved by the Israeli authorities continue to face restrictions.”

For example: “UNRWA, the largest implementing agency, was allowed to import materials for only six out of 14 projects, while other international agencies faced significant delays by the Israeli authorities, citing security reasons.”