75,150 students in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank (including Jerusalem) took the Palestinian matriculation exams and 52,108 (69.34 percent) passed. The success rate for the literature track, in which 47,467 students were tested, was 64.1 percent; in the sciences, 19,724 students took the exams and 83.63 percent passed. The results were announced Thursday. In other areas, such as business and entrepreneurship, sharia and vocational tracks, where few students were tested, the pass rate was about 60 percent.
The matriculation is one important area where the institutional split between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank has failed, thank God, and identical exams were administered in both places.
The top 15 scores in the literature track were all recorded by girls, with Dalia Malayisha of Qabatiyah in the West Bank (average 99.6 percent) and Nur Khadura of Deir al-Balah in the Gaza Strip (99.3 percent) heading the list. In the science track, the top 15 included 12 girls and three boys. Heading the list were two girls from the Gaza Strip, who each earned an average score of 99.7 percent: Alaa Abd al-Aati and Hala Mohana.
The celebrations, too, were similar in the West Bank and in the Gaza Strip. They began at 6 A.M. Thursday, with fireworks that sounded like gunfire, and continued throughout the day. The authorities in both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip prohibit live gunfire, but nevertheless there were injuries as a result of the fireworks: Five people suffered injuries in the West Bank (including a boy whose hand was severed). In the Gaza Strip, 12 people were hurt.
In demonstrations at four sites in the Gaza Strip on Friday 118 Palestinians, who were unarmed and did not pose a threat to the lives of soldiers, were injured by gunfire and other violent means, according to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights. Among the wounded were at least 45 children, three journalists and four paramedics: one at each site.
In demonstrations east of Jabalya, 20 people were wounded: five from live fire and shrapnel, including two minors; 14 from rubber-coated metal bullets — including Khalid Suhail Ali Abed, a paramedic; and one from a tear gas canister. In the demonstration east of Gaza City, where a number of young men threw stones at soldiers, 10 were wounded by live fire, four by direct hits by tear gas canisters and one by a rubber-coated steel bullet.
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Eyad Ahmed ‘Essa Zeyadah, 14, was dozens of meters from the border fence when a soldier shot him in the head, inflicting serious injuries, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights reported.
In the demonstration east of the Bureij refugee camp, protesters set tires on fire, burned Israeli flags and flew kites. Dozens of demonstrators approached the border fence at a range of between two and 70 meters, and some of them tried to throw stones at soldiers. In that incident, 25 were wounded by the soldiers’ live fire. Seven were wounded by rubber-coated metal bullets. They included a volunteer paramedic, Ahmad Wishah, who was hit in the left foot; a news photographer, Sami Masran, who was severely wounded in the face, and a female reporter, Safenaz al-Louh, who was struck in the back. Among the wounded were 16 children. Four of the injuries were described as serious.
The number of demonstrators east of Khan Yunis was smaller Friday than on previous weeks. Some protesters burned tires. Seven were wounded by live bullets shot by soldiers, five by shrapnel and 10 when they were struck by tear gas canisters. One of the canisters struck a volunteer paramedic, Fatma Najjar, 29, in the hand.
Some 1,600 protestors took part in the demonstration in the southern Gaza Strip. They approached the fence east of the village of Shoka, threw stones and set Israeli flags on fire. The soldiers sprayed them with hot water and foul-smelling “skunk water,” and fired live bullets, rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas. As a result, 34 civilians, including 10 children, were injured: 11 by live fire and shrapnel, 21 by rubber-coated metal bullets and two by tear gas canisters. Abd al-Rahman Siam, 16, suffered serious injury when a bullet struck his abdomen. A volunteer paramedic, Saqer al-Jamal, suffered moderate injuries after being hit in the head by a live bullet and in the left shoulder by a rubber-coated metal bullet.
In the first quarter of the year the unemployment rate in the Gaza Strip was 46 percent, compared to 16 percent in the West Bank, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics reported. The average work week was 37.2 hours in the Gaza Strip, compared to 43.6 hours in the West Bank. In the Gaza Strip, 20 percent of women work outside the home, compared to 18 percent in the West Bank.
Three-fourths — 76 percent — of employees in the private sector in Gaza earn less than minimum wage (1,450 shekels a month, or $410), compared to just 12 percent in the West Bank.
In the first quarter, 103,000 Palestinians worked in Israel proper. An additional 24,000 worked in settlements. The average wage of Palestinians working in Israel and in the settlements was 247 shekels per day.
In eight incidents of violence carried out by Jewish settlers between July 2 and July 15, two Palestinians were injured — one in Hebron and one in Hizmeh — and some 200 olive trees were damaged in Susya and in Turmus Aya, according to OCHA, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Settlers let their sheep and goats graze in fields belonging to the Palestinian villages of Yanun and Deir Jarir and planted with wheat and barley. Settlers also entered the villages of Deir Qaddis and Awarta, puncturing the tires of residents’ vehicles and spraying slogans in Hebrew.