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OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes

Update for oPt (21 – 27 January 2004)

INSIDEINSIDE:  Incursions in Abu Ubeida Street in Southern  part of Nablus — Casualties — Incidents involving ambulances — Curfew — House demolition — Land levelling/confiscation — Checkpoints/roadblocks/Separation Wall/restrictions on movement — Access to Schools — Labour movement to Israel — Other incidents


1. Incursion in Abu Ubeida Street in south western part of Nablus

22 January: At 0545 IDF entered the Abu Ubaida Street in the south western part of Nablus with APCs and armoured jeeps, surrounding houses in the area and forcing the residents to leave for a near by garage. All men aged between 15 and 55 were handcuffed. Following this, IDF turned its operation to the Akouba building and called for a wanted Palestinian to surrender, believing he was inside the building. At 0935 IDF bulldozer entered Nablus heading for the surrounded area, where IDF had started firing rounds at the Akouba building. Upon arrival, the bulldozer started pushing cars from the street down on houses located in the slope below. At 1100 IDF announced that the wanted Palestinian has to surrender within 30 minutes, threatening to demolish the house if he does not. At 1200 the bulldozer started severing the surrounding wall of the building, before commencing demolishing the front wall of the building itself, despite the fact that one family was still inside. The bulldozer paused in order for the family to leave to the nearby garage with the other families. At 1500 IDF entered the building and discovered that there was no one inside. At 1600 IDF ordered the residents of the area to evacuate their houses as the Akouba building was to be demolished, and special troops started implanting explosives inside in preparation of imploding the structure. At 1712 IDF the four storey building was demolished in a blast shaking all of Nablus city causing extensive damage to several other buildings. The Akouba building housed 6 families (35 to 40 persons). The explosion caused severe damages to 20 other houses in the area. At 1800 IDF pulled out from the city, arresting the brother of the wanted Palestinian, who was not wanted by the IDF.

2. Casualties

Palestinians: 4 deaths, 55 injured
Israelis: 0 deaths, 0 injured

3. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams

Denial of access: 2 incidents (in one incident the ambulance was denied access at Beit Iba checkpoint when it was transporting a child who suffered from epilepsy).

Delay (1-2 hrs.): 6 incidents

Harassment/Abuse of medical crew: 1 incident

25 January: Hebron (Bani Na'em village): A PRCS ambulance was transporting an elderly patient to her home in Al-Aroub Refugee Camp after undergoing hospital treatment. Israeli soldiers stopped the ambulance at the entrance of the refugee camp and initially denied it access. At this point, the Israeli soldiers began searching the ambulance, and one of the soldiers threatened the crew that they would be shot if they did not follow orders. The soldier then ordered the ambulance driver to drive into the camp very slowly without turning on the siren. As the ambulance entered the camp, the crew was taken by surprise as three Israeli soldiers jumped onto the back of the ambulance. The driver was obliged to continue driving further into the camp when suddenly the soldiers began to fire at the direction of camp residents and then proceeded to chase them.

4. Curfews

Curfews were reported in the following locations: al 'Arroub Refugee Camp (3 days), al Mazra'a ash Sharqiya (1day).

5. House demolitions/Demolition Orders

  • 22 January: OCHA learned that five Bedouin families in Salfit district had received a military order on 1 January by the IDF to vacate their homes before 15 February. The Bedouins all registered by UNRWA as refugees, have over the past 16 years occupied 20 dunums of land owned by Salfit Municipality. No confiscation order has been issued.
  • 22 January: IDF demolished a house under construction in Jalboun east of Jenin. The house is located 50 meters away from the Barrier. In the same village IDF demolished a brick factory and a sheep cot. All the buildings are located near the Barrier, which is under construction.
  • 28 January: 14 Palestinian families' residents of Anata Dahiyat Alsalam received eviction orders for the purpose of demolishing the houses under the pretext that it is built illegally without licence. In addition, Bedouin families who are living in the same area were ordered to leave within 72 hours. According to the IDF map, the Barrier will pass near the houses. 150 Palestinian will be affected by the demolitions.

DATE

LOCATION

Completely Demolished

Partially Demolished

Damaged

21/01/2004

Rafah

3

1

0

22/01/2004

Jalabun

1 house (under construction), 1 brick factory and 1 sheep cot

0

0

22/01/2004

Nablus

1 (4-storey building)

0

20

24/01/2004

Rafah

1 (3-storey building)

0

0

TOTAL

6 (including a 4-storey building in Nablus and a 3-storey building in Rafah), 1 brik factory and 1 sheep cot

1

20

6. Land levelling/confiscation

  • 21 January: IDF provided a Palestinian from Ya'abad a warning to uproot 260 olive trees near the road to the settlement of Mevo Dotan.
  • 21 January: The IDF continued to level land and uproot trees (one hundred olive trees have been uprooted so far) belonging to Khalifeh Dana in Ain Bani Salim south of Kharsina settlement, Hebron. The levelling appears to be related to the construction of a security fence around the settlement.
  • 22 January: the IDF began to uproot some 500 trees (olive, grapefruit, and apricots) covering some 15 dunums of land in Deir Ballout in Salfit district (area C). However, initial investigation does not prove a direct link to preparation of the Barrier rather than an attempt to maintain control in the area.
  • 22 January: IDF started levelling land planted with olive trees near Kadim settlement east of Jenin.
  • New military order was issued to amend the route of the Barrier between Al Khas village east Beit Sahur and Sour Bahir South Jerusalem. According to the new order the route of the Barrier will be moved towards the east to include about 541 of agricultural land, 151 out of the 541 of dunums are within the Jerusalem boundaries

Gaza:

Date

Area

(dunums)

Acres

Crop

21//01/2004

Gaza North (Beit Lahiya)

2

0.5

Potatoes

25/01/2004

Deir al Balah

15

3.75

Guava

26/01/2004

Deir al Balah

15

3.75

Wheat

26/01/2004

Deir al Balah

6

1.5

26/01/2004

Deir al Balah

45

11.25

Olive, citrus and Guava

26/01/2004

Khan Yunis (al Qararrah area)

25

6.25

TOTAL

108

27

7. Checkpoints/roadblocks/Separation Barrier/Restrictions on movement 

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates: 

  • Last week continued to see a relative relaxation in the movement with no additional closures in Tulkarm and Qalqiliya governorates. All checkpoints have been operational and in general only few military operations took place.
  • Apart from the ongoing construction through Nazlat Isa, where only the barrier entrance is pending, no other concrete steps have been taken on the ground to continue or alter the route of the barrier in conjunction with the third phase. Construction of the tunnel between Habla and Qalqiliya town is ongoing.
  • According to Palestinian DCL and various village councils, a new procedure for farmers to (re-)apply for green cards has been introduced by the IDF. The new procedure requires that farmers through in heritage prove their legal ownership of the land as well as possess a magnetic card of security reasons.
Property papers are in some cases difficult to present because most land are owned by Palestinians from before 1967 and divided in between descendants. In addition, acquiring these papers is also very expensive due to the tax that has to be paid. The Israeli DCL in Qalqiliya and Tulkarm both deny that a magnetic card is needed, but require an official letter from the Municipality declaring the legal ownership for the applicant. However, the DCL in Tulkarm acknowledged that a magnetic card indeed will facilitate the approvals process.
  • 21 January: UNRWA reported on access denial at Jaljoulia checkpoint (Qalqiliya district) for one of its medical teams that was on route from Qalqiliya town to the Alfe Menashe enclave because they needed a special permit to enter Israeli territory, Qalqiliya DCL confirmed this, but after being referred to Beit El, access was granted. The French NGO Premier Urgence also reported on access denial for its local staff at this checkpoint. This new checkpoint at Jaljoulia was established on 6 November and constitutes a de facto new borderline into Israel. These restrictions for humanitarian organisations further complicate the assistance to Palestinian villages behind the barrier.
  • The following agricultural gates have been reported closed during the week; Qalqiliya south, north and east, Zeita south, Attil, Salman, Isla, Jayyous south, Kfar Thulth and Izbat Jalud. The opening hours of the other agricultural gates remain the same as previously reported (three times a day for approximately 20 min).

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates:

  • The majority of check points in the Nablus governorate have been closed for Palestinians since 27 December 2003. Since 09 January Palestinians over 35 years old were allowed to cross the checkpoints, however with significant delays. On the 21 January IDF installed metal detection machines at the Huwwara and Beit Iba checkpoints
  • Flying check points were operative at the junction between Qabatiya, Jenin and Birqin, and on Haifa Street all week.

Ramallah/al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:

  • The construction of the Barrier in Budrus is still on halt while it is continuing further north in the Rantis area.
  •  The earth mounds between Beitunia and ‘Ain Arik remains in place.
  • 26 January: The entrance/exit of Abud village from road 465 was closed for all traffic by the IDF during the morning hours.

Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:

  • Ongoing construction of the Barrier in different sections in Khallet a Nu’man and north near Har Hommah, Ash Sheikh Sa’ad.and Sour Baher
  • The construction of the Barrier in as Sawahriya ash Sharqiya, Abu Dis and Eizariya east of the Mount of Olives near Beit Fagi monastery is rapidly progressing in terms of installing a 9-meter concrete blocks to close the remaining section of the passage from Eizariyah to Mount of Olives.
  • Ongoing Barrier construction opposite az Zayem Checkpoint, where land levelling down to the east in the valley to Maaly Adoumim to be completed.
  • 28 January: Israeli Border police imposed restrictions on the entrance of Anata and Shufat Refugee camp to conduct a campaign for TV licence bills and taxes.

Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:

  • The checkpoint at al Walaja is still causing problems to the residents of the village. Few are using this road to travel to Bethlehem with most preferring a long and muddy track through the hill bypassing it. The DCL has established a semi-permanent presence at the CP (manned by the Border Police), with the intent of facilitating movement and assisting the work of the Border Police. UNRWA teachers travelling to the village have not used this entrance for about ten days. Those with Jerusalem IDs are not facing problems. Locals report that the checkpoint is not open before 07:00 making it problematic for teachers to use this as an entrance in any case. Emergency healthcare after 19:00 is extremely problematic as the Beit Jala DCO also closes at 19:00.
  • 21 – 27 January: Israeli contractors continue levelling land on both sides of the main road between Gilo check point and Rachel’s Tomb. A fence has been erected at the southern most side of the area under construction on the eastern side of the road. Digging has also started on the section of the Barrier coming from the St. Emmanuel monastery towards the work site. Excess earth and debris are being moved to the western side of the main road, where levelling is currently taking place.
  • 22 January: An earth mound on the road leading to the north sewage pumping station of Bet Sahur was removed by the IDF allowing access for daily maintenance to take place.
  • 23 January: A new section of a “security road” to protect the Barrier between Har Homa and Bet Sahur is being constructed in the area of Jabal id-dik. This replaces an earlier plan which would have enveloped the Greek Orthodox housing complex further south. The new route now will effectively create an enclave of 10 families totally surrounded by a Barrier with one access road closed by a gate and for which permits will be required according to the IDF. All families access services in Bet Sahur.
  • 25 January: a secondary road from al Walaja to Bethlehem was closed by an earth mound by the Border Police. The dirt road was closed in an effort to control vehicular movement in and out of the village towards Bethlehem. The only access remains via the al Walaja checkpoint.
  • 25 January: IDF placed gates on both sides of the Fuwwar Dura junction, crossing route 60, in Hebron district. The gates are open
  • Public transport between Hebron and Bethlehem districts continues unhindered. The number of valid permits for buses of the Hebron national bus company this week was 34 with nearly half renewed during the reporting period. Eight of the buses have permits to reach Jericho. The trip from Hebron to Bethlehem by bus on road 60 takes 15 minutes, no searches or delays are experienced this week at Gush Etzion CP.
  • Palestinians are still able to travel with their own private vehicles from Yatta to Bethlehem without the need for a permit

The enclosed areas:

  • Al Seafa: Movement remains restricted by the IDF with the entry-exit gate opening twice daily for As-Seafa ID holders from 07.00 to 09.00 and 14.30 to 17.00. Motor vehicles are not allowed to enter since November 2000, with the exception of international agencies that have undertaken prior coordination with the IDF. From 23-26 January 2004, IDF was preventing women crossing the checkpoint; on January 27 women were allowed to cross but after being checked by female IDF soldiers.
  • Al Mawasi: IDF imposed restrictions remain, with no passage possible for male Al Mawassi ID holders aged 15-23 without prior coordination. Youths aged below 15 must be accompanied by a guardian. Motor vehicles are not allowed to enter, with the exception of international agencies that have undertaken prior coordination with the IDF. Since 15 January Tel as-Sultan checkpoint (RAFAH) was completely closed while at-Toffah checkpoint (Khan Yunis) has only been open for men from 08:00 -16:00. Women are not permitted to cross. Since 21 January 2004, IDF completely closed at-Toffah check point denying the access of all people as well as the goods

8. Access to schools

  • 22 January: the IDF entered Al Haramain basic girls’ school, in south Hebron district, forcing student to go home.
  • 26 January: the IDF delayed teachers trying to reach Al-Buwab basic school in Yatta.
  • 26 January: Children from Beit Amin and Saniria who attend the schools in Azzun Atma were under heavy rain forced to wait for approximately one hour between 07:00 and 08:00 in front of the gate during a shift of soldiers.
  • UNRWA reported continuous disruption in teachers’ access to schools in different districts due to closure, curfew and lack of permits.

9. Labour movement to Israel

West Bank:

  • No new work permits were issued in the governorates of Tulkarm and Qalqiliya since 25 December. However, a further total of 250 trader permits were issued this week for Qalqiliya and another 146 for Tulkarm.
  • In Hebron, 25 new workers’ permits were issued this week for as total number of 114 valid ones; around 100 new permits were issued for traders this week for a total of 670 valid ones. In Bethlehem district no workers’ permits were released because of closure on Bethlehem while another 31 traders’ permits were issued this week for a total of 90 valid ones.

Gaza

  • 18 January: IDF re-opened Erez crossing but passage was only granted for workers over 35 years old compared to 28 years old earlier. Despite the re-opening of the crossing, only 1,445 Palestinian workers were able to enter Israel as a result of the tight new security checks at Erez.
  • 11,724 permits to enter Israel were issued to Palestinian agricultural and construction workers and 1,325 traders.

10.  Other incidents:

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates

  • 24 January: The IDF entered the medical clinic in Azzun around 08:30 and broke the main gate into the clinic and two doors. Three people from Azzun and one person from Qalqiliya were arrested during the operation. The IDF sealed off the vicinity of the clinic for approximately four hours between 06:00 and 10:00 preventing people to pass.

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates

  • Nightly incursions and arrests continued almost on a daily basis. Heavy artillery rounds were fired in the air from the IDF observation base on Jarzeem Mountain almost every night.
  • 24 January: Two shepherds were held in a military base near Aqaba village for more than 7 hours while they were tending to their sheep near the village.
  • 24 January: IDF entered Burqa north of Nablus and held a 56-year old Palestinian until his two 15 and 13 – year old sons surrender. IDF claimed that the two boys had been throwing stones.
  • 25 January: At 1800 IDF entered Burqa north of Nablus shooting randomly forcing the shops to close. IDF held tens of men in the village yard for more than one hour.
  • 25 January: A settler car was shot at near Fahma village south of Jenin. No injuries were reported and the IDF searched the site.

Ramallah/Al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:

  • The IDF have this week increasingly conducted military operations and arrests in villages spread all around the governorate. Many of the operations and subsequent arrests were conducted in the villages north and south of Khalamish settlement, in which there last week were attacks against Israeli settlers.
  • 20 January: The IDF entered the village of Beitillu and occupied a 3 floor Palestinian building.
  • 24 January: At around 0100 hrs the IDF entered the village of An Nabi Saleh, calling for everybody in the village to gather at the village school. The males from age eight and up were ordered to gather alone and finger prints and photos were taken of them. The IDF left the village at 0500 hrs.
  • Search and arrest campaigns took place during the week in the Ramallah governorate.
  • 25 January: The IDF entered the village of Beitillu almost daily. IDF occupied another two apartments belonging to two Palestinian brothers, who went to live in one of their relatives houses.
  • 26 January: The IDF entered the village of Al Mazra’a Ash Sharqiya at 0200 hrs., imposing curfew and searching houses. Two university students were arrested. At around 0600 hours the IDF called for every man aged between 20y to 30y, to gather at the boy school, in which their photos were taken. The operation lasted until 1500 hrs.

Hebron/Bethlehem governorates:

  • 21 January: A Palestinian woman was injured when settlers from Kiryat Arba attacked the residents of Wadi An-Nasara.
  • 21 January: Search campaigns took place in several places in Jabal Jouher, Al-Baqa and Al-Kasara in the old town of Hebron.
  • 21 January: Seven people were arrested in Surif and three in Hebron old city (Hebron District). Four were arrested in Al-Me’sara village (Bethlehem District).
  • 24 January: Tow Palestinians were injured in Wadi An-Nasara, Hebron city when settlers from Kiryat Arba attacked the houses of the residents in the area.
  • 25 January: Search and arrest campaign took place in Al-Aroub camp, Hebron district, and nine people were arrested. One arrest took place in Artas village (Bethlehem District).

Gaza

  • 21-27 January: 25 mortars, 8 homes made rockets and 3 anti tanks missile have been fired towards the Israeli settlements of Neve Dekalim, Dugit, Netzarim, and Gadid. No injuries reported.
  • 21 January: A 31-year old woman was killed and her two sisters injured during a large scale IDF operation in Rafah when 7 tanks and 4 bulldozers invaded the western area of Brazil camp.
  • 22 January: 11-year old boy was killed and 2 boys injured when the IDF opened fire towards the three of them when they tried approaching the border fence south east of Beit Hanoun.

(Source: OCHA field units, UNRWA, UNSCO, PRCS, MoH, UHHC, Governors’ office, Israeli MoFA & IDF web sites, Al Mizan, PCHR)

END


Document Type: Note
Document Sources: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Subject: Incidents, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 27/01/2004