P.O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem
Phone: (972) 2 – 5829962 / 5825853, Fax: (972) 2 – 5825841
OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes
Update for oPt (25 February – 02 March2004)
INSIDEINSIDE: Casualties — Incidents involving ambulances — Curfew — House demolition — Land levelling/confiscation — Checkpoints/roadblocks/Barrier/restrictions on movement — Access to Schools — Labour movement to Israel — Other Incidents — Checkpoints/Gates status — Appendix
Palestinians: 11 deaths, 214 injured (approximately)
Israelis: 3 deaths, 13 injured
2. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams
Denial of access: 0 incidents
Delay (1 – 4 hrs.): 4 incidents
Harassment/Abuse of medical crew: 1 incident
Shooting/Damage to Ambulance: 3 incidents
Curfew was imposed on Husan village in Bethlehem District during the house demolition of the suicide bomber responsible for the attack in Jerusalem. Husan village has been under curfew since 22 February. This has drastically reduced the movement of residents in the village itself but also for those coming from Nahalin and Battir, for which Husan provides the gateway to the rest of the District. Emergency medical supplies have been delivered to the local health facility but concerns are mounting in the western area of the district as solid waste remains uncollected: this has serious health
4. House demolitions/Demolition Orders
• 27 February: in a large scale IDF military operation, 120 shops were destroyed at the Palestinian side of Erez crossing. This action was taken on the grounds that the shops were concealing a tunnel from which an attack was launched the previous day killing an IDF soldier.
• 27 February: The IDF returned to Jbara and verbally instructed the two refugee families to vacate their houses within a week. Demolition orders were received September 2003.
• 27 February: IDF handed three orders to stop the construction of houses in the old town of al Khadr, Bethlehem district because of lack of a permit.
5. Land levelling/confiscation
• Ongoing land levelling near Isla in Qalqilya district close to Alfei Menashe settlement.
• Land levelling north of Bardala village, Tubas district, continued near the north-eastern section of the barrier.
• The land levelling for the construction of the Barrier in Beit Surik in Jerusalem governorate continued during the week until 28 February. On 29 February the Israeli Supreme Court ordered halt to construction of the Barrier. The order is valid for one week.
• Land levelling and uprooting trees for the construction of the Barrier continued on land between Beit Sira and Beit Liqya.
• 25 February: The IDF cut about 35 olive trees near the junction of Idhna village with road 35 in Hebron district for “security reasons”.
• 28 February: Settlers from Tako’a settlement bulldozed about 20 dumuns (4 acres) of land between the villages of Kisan and al Maniya, in Bethlehem district, and installed three caravans.
• 25 February: The IDF issued land seizure orders for an estimated 27 dunums (6.75 acres) to a number of Palestinian families living to the south of Netzarim settlement on the grounds of “military purposes”. Palestinian owners of the land were informed that their land would be appropriated until the end of December 2005. However, the construction of a “security wall – 560 metres in length and 15 metres wide around southern Netzarim is likely to involve seizure of additional Palestinian land and/or denial of access to other Palestinian land in this area. The construction of the wall is expected to isolate hundreds of dunums of Palestinian land, which will be trapped between the settlement and the new security wall.
6. Checkpoints/roadblocks/ Barrier/Restrictions on movement
• There has been some relaxation in the movement restrictions, with no new major restrictions (roadblocks, earth mounds, and closures) imposed on the local population in both Tulkarm and Qalqiliya districts. All checkpoints have been operational and in general few military operations took place. A number of flying checkpoints were observed around Tulkarm combined with frequent patrolling in the town.
• Dismantling of the Barrier from Zeita to Qaffin through Baqa Ash Sharqiya is ongoing. All gates (including one agricultural gate in Zeita) have now been dismantled allowing freer movement. It is estimated that the work will be completed over the coming weeks.
• Construction of the tunnel between Habla and Qalqilya town is ongoing. The tunnel aims to facilitate the travel between Qalqilya town and Habla and the villages further south of Habla to compensate for movement restrictions imposed on parts of road 55 that is situated between Jaljoulia checkpoint and Israel.
• Opening statistics of Barrier gates are listed below in the table. The announced opening hours of the agricultural gates have not strictly been adhered to by the IDF. There are frequent delays.
• Nablus remained under closure while internal closures in the governorate of Jenin continued to be eased as few partially manned check points were operative.
• 29 February: IDF held workers, farmers and travelers (coming from Jordan) at Hamra checkpoint in the Jordan valley for several hours.
• 2 March: An IDF flying checkpoint near Al Aqrabaniya village in the Jordan Valley Nablus district was installed, blocking the road delaying farmers and workers at the check point for several hours.
• 01 March: At around 1800 hours, two IDF jeeps set up a temporary checkpoint at Surda on the main Ramallah-Bir Zeit road and disrupted commuter traffic for about three hours.
• Construction of the Barrier is continuing in different sections from Khallet an Nu’man northwards near Har Hommah settlement, Ash Sheikh Sa’ad, Sur Baher, Sawahriya ash Sharqiya, Abu Dis and Al ‘Eizariya.
• The construction of the Barrier in Al ‘Eizariya east towards Mount of Olives near Beit Fagi monastery is moving rapidly in terms of installing an 8 meter concrete wall that will close the remaining section of the passage from Al ‘Eizariyah to Mount of Olives.
• The construction of the Barrier has also started opposite Zayem Checkpoint with land levelling east of the valley towards Ma’ale Adoumim settlement.
• Three to four flying checkpoints have been established on a daily basis in the morning hours near the neighbourhoods of Mount Of Olives and Ras al Amood to check whether Palestinians have Jerusalem ID cards.
• 01 March: Contractors have started erecting a fence next to the Emmanuel Monastery, close to the Gilo checkpoint.
• Movement between Hebron District and Bethlehem remains difficult following the closure of route 356 in Wadi Sair by an earth mound on 22 February. This is the only road Palestinians can use with their private vehicles without having a special permit. Currently Palestinians are travelling internally as far as Beit Fajjar and then cross on foot back onto route 356 and the awaiting public transport.
• 25 February – to date: The IDF closed the only access route to the village of An-Nu’man, Bethlehem District.
• The number of valid permits for the buses of Hebron national bus company is 25, of which19 for public transport between Hebron and Bethlehem and 6 for movement between Hebron and Jericho. Buses are being stopped at the Gush Etzion check point.
The enclosed areas:
• As-Seafa: Movement remains restricted by the IDF with the entry-exit gate opening twice daily for As- Seafa ID holders from 06:30 to 08:30 and 14.00 to 16.00. Motor vehicles are not allowed to enter since November 2000, with the exception of international agencies that have undertaken prior coordination with the IDF. Since 28 January 2004, IDF started to allow women to get in and out of Al Seafa but movement is subject to body search and with 24 hours prior coordination.
• Al-Mawassi: IDF imposed restrictions remain, with the entry-exit gate at Tuffah checkpoint opening twice daily for Al Mawassi ID holders from 07.00 to 09.00 and 14.30 to 17.00. On 26, 27, 28 and 29 February 2004, Al Tuffah checkpoint was open for departures only and reopened to movement in both directions on 1 March 2004. No passage is 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. Tel Es-Sultan checkpoint remains closed since 14 February.
7. Access to schools
• 28 February: Schools in Ar Ramadin, Arab al Fureijat, Anab al Kabir, Fuqeiqis were closed following the deployment of flying checkpoints in the aftermath of the attack on the settlers.
• 28 February: Thirty teachers were apprehended by the IDF before lesson time and prevented from going to teach in areas south of Yatta.
• 02 March: IDF entered the Bizzaryia Primary School Nablus district, forcing the students and teachers to leave the school. The IDF also imposed a curfew on the village for the second day in a row.
• Access to schools in East Jerusalem is deteriorating due to the construction of the Barrier in the areas from Al “Eizariya southwards.
8. Labour movement to Israel
• Tulkarem/Qalqilya: A total of 230 work permits were issued for Tulkarm and none for Qalqilya. However, the Palestinian DCL has applied for 6,000 work permits that are currently under review by the IDF. A total of 174 trader permits were issued/renewed for Qalqilya and 70 for Tulkarm
• Jenin: 678 workers and traders from Jenin continued to enter Israel with permits.
• In Hebron District 1,173 traders’ permits, 40 bypass road permits for duration of one month and 30 permits for Gaza Strip for one week time period were released during the month of February. For workers, 312 permits were issued for duration of 3 months. In Bethlehem District, 56 traders’ permits were issued during the month of February. For workers, 250 permits were issued but they were frozen immediately by the Israeli DCL for unknown reason.
• Following the suicide bombing in Jerusalem, both traders and workers from both Districts faced great problems, and were often denied access to Israel.
The number of workers inside Israel has noticeably increased in contrast to the preceding weeks. Entry is still only granted to workers over 35 years of age, a seven-year increase from the previous minimum age of 28. Passage through Erez remains problematic on account of the suicide bombing that took place on January 14. IDF is still forcing workers to show their legs and raise their shirts before allowing passage through the checkpoint.
11,700 permits to enter Israel were issued to Palestinian agricultural and construction workers and 1,515 traders.
9. Other incidents
• 25 February: A villager from Bal’a district was allegedly beaten by the IDF and was transferred to the hospital in Tulkarm for treatment.
• 26 February: The IDF entered Tulkarm Refugee Camp around 22:30 with two tanks and eight military jeeps shooting randomly. A search campaign was conducted in two houses. No arrests and no casualties have been reported.
• 26 February: The IDF entered Qalqilya town and the village of Jayyous shooting and throwing of sound bombs and tear gas. No curfew and no incidents have been reported.
• 28 February: The IDF entered Attil village north of Tulkarm twice, shooting and throwing gas bombs. No curfew was imposed and no incidents have been reported: however three people were arrested during the second part of the operation.
• A number of arrest campaigns took place in the governorate of Nablus
• 27 February: IDF arrested 3 children aged between 12 and 14 from Tubas city.
• 01 March: IDF occupied a Palestinian house at Beit Junction leaving four families (19 people) homeless.
• 25 February: At around 10:30 more than 20 IDF military vehicles entered Ramallah and Al Bireh, and surrounded branches of the Arab Bank, Cairo-Amman Bank and the Islamic Bank. The IDF announced that these areas would be closed military areas until late at night, thus severely disrupting the lives of the local residents. The operation ended at around midnight with the military confiscating around seven million US dollars (NIS 37 million), claiming that this money belongs to people engaged in and/or funding “terrorist activities”. Clashes broke out around the various closed areas and in Ramallah city centre between IDF soldiers and Palestinian youth throwing stones. The clashes resulted in 45 Palestinians being injured, four seriously. Hospitals staff reported that there were many head injuries.
• 25 – 27 February: Demonstrations against the construction of the Barrier took place in Bet Surik. Clashes erupted between stone throwing demonstrators and Border Police forces who responded with live ammunition as well as rubber coated metal bullets, tear gas and shock grenades. Two (2) Palestinians were killed on the spot, one (1) died of a heart attack due to inhalation of tear gas, one (1) is left in coma due to his injuries, and approx. 80 other Palestinians were injured. On 26 February 10 Border Police were injured.
• 27 February: One Palestinian was injured following a stabbing attack by an Israeli close to Damascus gate.
• The demolition of the house of the suicide bomber in Husan (Bethlehem) destroyed the main transformer supplying electricity to the village. Due to the curfew imposed in the following days, no repairs were possible.
• Numerous search and arrest campaign took place in both Bethlehem and Hebron governorates in the last week. Several injuries were reported.
• 27 February: Palestinians opened fire on an Israeli vehicle near Sansana settlement, in south west of Hebron, killing two Israeli settlers. Search campaign conducted in Ar- Ramadin village, Hebron District, after the incident.
• 01 March: An IDF soldier was injured when an IDF patrol was passing on road 60 near the town of Beit Ummar, Hebron District. A search campaign was then conducted in the town.
• 24 February: IDF gunboats opened fire on some Palestinian fishing boats opposite Beit Lahia forcing them to leave towards the Beach Camp. No injuries were reported.
• 28 February: IDF gunboats opened fire towards Palestinian fishing boats opposite Beit Lahia in Soudania area. No injuries were reported.
• 12 mortars, 4 home made rockets and 2 anti tanks missile have been fired towards the Israeli settlements of Neve Dekalim, Dugit, Netzarim, and Gadid. No injuries reported but some settler’s houses sustained damages.
• 28 February: 3 Palestinians were killed and another 9 injured including a 10 years old boy who sustained serious injuries, when 2 IDF helicopters supported by F16 fighters fired several missiles towards a car travelling on Al Jala’a street near Sheikh Radwan neighbourhood of Gaza City.
(Source: OCHA field units, UNRWA, UNSCO, PRCS, MoH, UHHC, Governors’ office, Israeli MoFA & IDF web sites, Al Mizan, PCHR)
Appendix: Checkpoints Status 25 February – 02 March 2004
Document Sources: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Subject: Incidents, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 02/03/2004