INTER-AGENCY CONTINGENCY PLANNING FOR
17 August 2005
As part of Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement plan, four settlements and a number of military outposts in the northern West Bank are slated for evacuation. Sanur (pop 105) and Khomesh (pop 228) are located along road 60 north of Nablus town, and are mainly inhabited by religious settlers. Conversely, the inhabitants of Ganim (pop 172) and Kaddim (pop 149) located southeast of Jenin town are considered more secular.
According to the Israeli government, once the evacuation has been completed, there will be no permanent Israeli military installations and no non-essential civilian infrastructure in the area.
However, the Israeli government has up to now rejected a Palestinian request that the northern area be handed over to full Palestinian control.
2. Contingencies and Scenarios
• According to the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), the actually pull out will take place in the period 4-9 September (i.e. in principle after the Gaza disengagement). Relocation orders will be distributed to the settlers on 15 August and the settlers will hereafter be given two days to voluntarily vacate their dwellings if they opt for this option. However, from 17 August, the IDF will have the military authorisation to conduct the evacuation (only of the human individuals), thus, theoretically, the evacuation can take place any time after this date at the discretion of the IDF. Removal of personal effects will take place immediately after departure of the settlers.
Key Planning Assumptions
• The inhabitants from the two secular settlements of Ganim and Kaddim are likely to be evacuated (first) on road 60 through Al Jalama checkpoint on the Green Line north of Jenin town and further to Afula ( see map). The vast majority of these settlers have already left their homes and only few families remain. It is not anticipated that the evacuation of these settlement will be the cause of any humanitarian concerns.
• The inhabitants from the two more religious settlements of Sanur and Khomesh north of Nablus are likely to be evacuated subsequently on the most direct route into Israel proper, i.e. north on road 60 via Arraba junction and finally through the Rehan Barrier gate. A backup route for Khomesh has been mentioned by the IDF as a second contingency, which could take these settlers on road 60 further south through Shave Shameron checkpoint and further on road 57 via Enav junction to finally reach Israel through Kafriat checkpoint and Taybeh ( see map).
• The evacuation will as minimum entail temporary prohibition of all movement on the sections that are part of the evacuation during the disengagement period; for the northern part of Jenin, the prohibition will apply to road 60 from Bazic junction to Al Jalama checkpoint and for the evacuation of Sanur and Khomesh, the prohibition will apply to road 60 from Shave Shomeron to Arraba junction and road 596 and 585 to Rehan Barrier gate. It is also expected as minimum that all access roads to the planned evacuation routes will be closed with earthmounds/roadblocks, perhaps supplemented by flying checkpoints combined with closures/curfews of selected villages in proximity of the settlements and the evacuation routes (in worst case, this could also include Jenin and Nablus towns thereby affecting movement through Beit Furik, Awarta, Tappuah Beit Iba and Shave Shomeron checkpoints).
• Apart from the planned evacuation route as described above, the IDF has further announced that closures could/will apply to the following road sections: Jalama checkpoint, the road section between Jit and Shave Shomeron junctions, and; Tappuah checkpoint on road 60 south of Nablus town.
• Alternative bypass roads will be created by the IDF in order for Palestinians to reach daily services. It is likely to expect that road 588 between Jenin and Nablus through Qabatiya and Al Badhan via Tubas town will remain open, with flying checkpoints at the most, which also will help to facilitate access of these villages located in eastern part of Jenin. Further, the IDF has announced that an alternative route to a closure of Tappuah checkpoint will be through Beita, Aqraba and Jurish east of road 60. An alternative route for the closure of the section north of Jit junction fro commuters coming from mainly Qalqiliya to Nablus will be through Qusin village to reach Beit Iba checkpoint.
• If the evacuation alternatively will be conducted through Tulkarm governorate, this will also affect Tulkarm town (closure of Anabta road at Enav junction) and surrounding villages. Movement will be prohibited on road 60 through Shave Shameron junction and further on road 557(57) to Kafriat checkpoint via Enav junction.
• Following Barrier gates in Jenin governorate are expected to be affected as follows: Reikhan gate will be closed for Palestinians, but open for international organisations; Salem gate will operate as back-to-back terminal and be open for international organisations; Baarta gate will remain open for all with valid permits; Shaked gate will be open 3 times a day for students and permanent residents in the closed area.
• It is not expected that restrictions will be placed on humanitarian movement, however prior co-ordination with the Israeli DCL for movement on these sections that are included in the evacuation during the disengagement can be expected.
Risks factors and pre-emptive measures
• Movement restrictions will be imposed on settlers and other Israeli citizens to the north (from Tappuah junction) and in the north in order to reduce tension and possible confrontations between settlers and Israeli forces and between settlers and Palestinians. According to the IDF, the prohibition will already in principle take effect from 15 July and be enforced from 15 August.
• It is likely that the evacuation will be subject to international media attention and the presence of international activists around the potential hot spots ( see table below). This could have a mitigating effect on potential clashes between Palestinians, settlers and the Israeli forces.
• Nablus, and more in particular its surrounding villages are vulnerable and could be subject to attacks and harassment from the nearby settlements (Nablus is surrounded by seven settlements – all considered extreme religious and especially ‘Tel Hayim’ is notorious for its aggressive behaviour). It is very unlikely that settlers will attempt to enter Nablus city.
• Vast presence of IDF and Israeli Police Forces are expected in the area of operation prior to and during the disengagement.
3. Humanitarian analysis
The process of evacuation in itself is expected to generate little humanitarian impact and additional needs. Since movement to both Nablus and Jenin could be restricted during the disengagement, this will affect local populations’ access to workplaces, education facilities and markets. Special attention should be placed on isolated communities and communities subjected to curfews.
In general, the disengagement could entail that local populations would need to find alternative ways to reach services in alternative cities, such as Tubas, Tulkarm and Qalqiliya, where access is expected to be slightly easier. For Jenin, this will in particular apply to Silat Adh Dhar, Al’ Attara, Ajja, Ar Rama, Kfar Ra’I Fahma, Imreiha and Arraba that all are located southwest of the evacuation route and thus are left with restricted access to Jenin town. For Nablus, particularly Bizzariya will be affected, although the IDF has announced that a humanitarian path will be created to ensure access to Nablus town.
In case of closures, education will become a cause for concern mainly for the movement of teachers. In particular for those villages that are in danger of being placed under curfew, the movement restrictions will affect the access to schools for both children and teachers. For UNRWA teachers, the vast majority comes from the villages and therefore need access to Jenin town.
Food distribution would only be relevant to consider for isolated families/populations and those villages that are in danger of being placed under curfew (more than 3 days).
Access of patients to health facilities and the access of health workers to their places of work in addition to delivery of drugs and medical supplies to the health facilities will the main issues during the disengagement.
In spite of the availability of primary health care services in most of the villages, special attention from Health Inforum will be given to the chronic patients. Secondary health care services are available in Jenin and Tulkarm cities while the tertiary care is available in Nablus only.
For PRCS and UNRWA, it is expected that their mobile clinics will be able to move with prior coordination.
Water and Sanitation
The general water situation in Jenin governorate in particular is poorly developed and not up to standard. According to Palestinian Hydrology Group (PHG), 43 villages in Jenin and 29 villages in Nablus are not connected to water networks and consequently depend on access of water tankers. In case of closure and curfew, these villages would depend on access of water from outside. Garbage collection could also be a cause of concern for closed/isolated villages. A cut off of water and electricity supplies in the four settlements in conjunction with the evacuation, will directly affect two villages (Silat Adh Dhaher and Al Fandaqumiya), as these are connected to the water network in Khomesh settlement, and consequently would need water tankers from other sources in case of closure and curfew. In addition, Burqa and Bizzariya receive water from Shave Shomeron settlement.
Consequently, the EWASH group recommends that communities try to be as self-sufficient as possible, at least for the first 72 hours, i.e. to start stocking up enough water before the disengagement starts. Water supplies in school cisterns could be used in an emergency.
4. Humanitarian impact on neighbouring governorates
In case the evacuation involves Tulkarm, a closure of road 57 will then mostly affect villages south of Tulkarm town (Ar Ras, Saffarin, Beit Lid, Kfur Sur, Kur, Kfur Jamal, Kfur Zibad, Kfur Abbush) and Jbara, which is located behind the Barrier, and Shufa, which is located adjacent to Avnei Khefets settlement. Only access to services in Tulkarm town for these villages is to cross road 57. For Jbara, it could entail complete closure, unless IDF agree to open the Barrier gate near Ar Ras, which will enable villagers to reach Qalqiliya.
No significant humanitarian concerns are envisioned apart from closure of Barrier gates in worst case, which mainly will affect farmers’ access to agricultural land.
No significant humanitarian concerns are envisioned for residents of Tubas governorate in conjunction with the disengagement. If Al Badhan road remains open (- or partially open, i.e. with a flying checkpoint) as expected, residents from Tubas will continue to have access to Nablus.
No significant humanitarian concerns are envisioned for residents of Salfit district in conjunction with the disengagement.
No major impact is anticipated on the Ramallah/Al Bireh governorate during the disengagement, therefore no major humanitarian consequences are expected. However, an increase in violence cannot be discounted. The Palestinian DCL anticipates that there will be a rise in settler harassment/violence. It appears that most settlers in the district are opposed to disengagement – the majority of settler (and some IDF) vehicles are flying anti-disengagement orange ribbons.
The IDF may impose strict closures if settler protests/violence breaks out in the area, and if there are Palestinians attacks on settlers and IDF. According to the Israeli Liaison Officer (16 June), the IDF are discussing a number of scenarios but are anticipating that the area will be quiet.
Hebron / Bethlehem
The IDF DCL offices in Hebron and Bethlehem do not anticipate the imposition of full closure on the southern part of the West Bank while the disengagement is carried out. Most humanitarian actors do not expect significant implications for the delivery of services in the southern part of the West Bank, although an intensification of harassment from settlers in specific areas and the resulting efforts of the IDF to contain it might result in some disruption. No stocks (except for UNICEF) are being pre-positioned in the southern part of the West Bank at the time of writing.
Stocks of food, medicines and Non-Food Items are, however, available in Hebron – H2 for contingency purposes unrelated to the Disengagement.
The scenarios developed by OCHA field office in Hebron in consultation with the main humanitarian partners in the area revolve around the impact level of settler violence and the ability/willingness of the IDF/Police to contain it.
One important aspect that was not included in the scenarios but will surely affect the security environment during the time of the disengagement might be the internal dynamics created by the results of the PLC round of elections scheduled for July.
5. Coordination structures
The Jenin Governor’s office has established an emergency/coordination committee for disengagement that comprises of representatives from the humanitarian community as tabled below:
An Emergency Room has been established to help the emergency/coordination committee in ensuring that humanitarian concerns are addressed quickly. It will be staffed by nine people working in shifts 24 hours 7 days a week during the disengagement. All incidents and/or humanitarian concerns during the disengagement are to be reported to the Emergency Room which will pass it on to the lead agency of each sector as well as local municipalities.
For movement in closed areas / military zones
Any humanitarian response required will be coordinated through the OCHA-UNRWA teams (with consultation with ICRC) in Nablus. Decisions will be based on information received from the emergency room and operational agencies.
A consolidated sheet of humanitarian movement, including the inputs from OCHA will in addition to other UNRWA movements will be consolidated by UNRWA Operations in Jerusalem. Movement will be cleared by DSS and copies sent to the DCL in Jenin and Nablus, and the HQ DCL in Beit El.
For movement outside closed areas:
Movements outside of closed areas continue through normal coordination procedures (DCL, DSS clearance).
• Contact list
• Local capacity and preparedness for humanitarian response
Document Sources: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), United Nations Childrens Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), World Bank, World Food Programme (WFP)
Subject: Assistance, Palestine question
Publication Date: 17/08/2005