OCHA Weekly Report: Setters’ Attacks Remains High in West Bank in Mid-October

12:00 Oct 23 2011 West Bank

RAMALLAH, October 23, 2011 (WAFA) - Settler violence against Palestinians and their property remains high, with 11 settler-related incidents documented during the week between October 12 and 18, resulting in six Palestinian injuries and damage to around 900 olive trees, according to a report published on Sunday.

The weekly report of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs to the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OCHA) said that in three separate incidents in East Jerusalem, Israeli settlers physically assaulted and injured three Palestinians, including two children, ages 10 and 15 years, in the neighborhood of Al Thouri (Abu Tour), in Silwan and near the Old City.

Also in Silwan, a Palestinian man was physically assaulted and injured by settler guards from the City of David settlement, it said.

The report said that elsewhere in the West Bank settlers physically assaulted and injured a Palestinian farmer while he was harvesting olives near the settlement of Qarne Shomoron, in Qalqiliya.

Settlers also injured an 11-year-old Palestinian girl while they were stoning at Palestinian-plated vehicles driving near the settlement of Bet El, in Ramallah.

It said in three separate incidents this week, Israeli settlers set fire to around 800 olive trees in the villages of Bruqin, in Salfit and Ras Karkar, in Ramallah. Also, settlers sprayed chemicals on around 80 olive trees in the village of Turmus ‘Ayya, in Ramallah, damaging them.

Moreover, settlers attacked Palestinian farmers in six separate incidents in Qalqiliya, Nablus and Salfit governorates, preventing them from picking olives.

The report said all of these incidents occurred on Palestinian-owned land located in the vicinity of Israeli settlements, during times which had been coordinated in advance by the Israeli authorities to allow farmers to access their land and harvest their olives. In some of these incidents, Israeli forces intervened and removed the settlers.

In two separate locations this week, Israeli settlers began establishing or expanding settlement outposts; Settlers erected tents in a location near Bet El settlement, in Ramallah, and, in Salfit governorate, settlers leveled over 30 dunums of Palestinian-owned land near the village of Iskaka and installed new caravans to expand a nearby settlement outpost, it said.

The report said on October 18; the Israeli authorities released 477 Palestinian prisoners, including 27 women, in exchange for the IDF soldier, Gilad Shalit, who had been held by Hamas since June 2006. Over 300 of the released prisoners were serving life sentences. The exchange took place in the context of prisoner swap agreement between Israel and Hamas, mediated by Egypt.

In the context of the release, UNICEF appealed to the Israeli authorities to free all Palestinian children held in Israeli military detention. According to UNICEF, as of 1 October, there were 164 children, under 18, being detained by the Israeli authorities, most of them on charges of throwing stones in the West Bank.

It said this week, there were no demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures by the Israeli authorities, compared to 39 structures demolished over the past two weeks, all of them in Area C. Overall, there has been a significant rise in demolitions and, in particular, displacement this year, compared to last year.

According to the Border and Crossing authorities in Gaza, over 2,600 Palestinian pilgrims registered to leave for pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia crossed the Rafah Crossing into Egypt. Overall during the reporting period, around 4,170 people left Gaza through the Rafah Crossing controlled by Egypt, and 3,310 others entered Gaza.

The report said the number of people who crossed this week, however, remains slightly below the average number of people who crossed per week in the first five months of 2006, before the partial closure of the crossing, when an average of 650 people crossed daily each way.

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