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OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes

Update for oPt (28 January – 10 February 2004)

INSIDEINSIDE:  Situation in Gaza — 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 — Appendix — Closure status January 2004

1. Situation in Gaza

Israel resumed its assassination policy on 7 February 2004, when 2 Palestinians including an Islamic Jihad activist and eleven year school boy were killed and 11 people injured, when a vehicle carrying Islamic Jihad activists was targeted by helicopter gun ships.

The death toll has been rising during the last 2 weeks with 21 Palestinians killed during successive IDF operations in Gaza. Rafah is still being exposed to almost daily Israeli incursions. On Sunday 8 February, 2 persons were killed, 20 injured and 14 homes partially demolished as Israeli forces entered the As Salam area.

2. Casualties

Palestinians: 36 deaths, 95 injured
Israelis: 11 deaths, 56 injured (approximately)

3. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams

Denial of access: 4 incidents

Delay (35-180 min.): 8 incidents

Harassment/Abuse of medical crew: 3 incident

Shooting/Damage to ambulance: 1

4. Curfews

Curfews were reported in the following locations: Aiday Camp (2 days), Husan, Battir and Turmuss’aya (1 day)

5. House demolitions/Demolition Orders

09 February: 10 houses in Far’un adjacent to the Separation Barrier received orders to halt construction of the houses. According to the Israeli DCL these houses have been built on illegal background. Residents have been granted the option to takes their cases to the Israeli High Court, which will take a decision on 03 March.

6. Land levelling/confiscation

06 February: IDF started bulldozing land in the area north of Bardala village east of Tubas for the preparation of the Separation Barrier construction.

7. Gaza:

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

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates: 

The past two weeks continued to see a relaxation in the movement with no new major restrictions (roadblocks, earth mounds, and closures) imposed on the local population in both Tulkarm and Qalqilya districts apart from the already existing. All checkpoints have been operational and in general.
Apart from the completion of the Separation Barrier through Nazlat Isa (Barrier entrance is still pending), no other concrete steps have been taken on the ground to continue or alter the route of the Separation Barrier in conjunction with the third phase. Construction of the tunnel between Habla and Qalqilya town is ongoing.
Following the latest suicide attack in Jerusalem on 29 January, relatives were rejected permission to visit villages behind the Separation Barrier during Eid.
All Separation Barrier gates were closed apart from Qaffin, Baqa ash Sharqiya, Zeit North, Shuweika, Falamya North, Falamya South, Jayyous North, Jayyous South, Wadi ar Rasha, Ramadin, Ras Tira, Azzun Atmeh, Jbara and Habla.

– Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates:

The majority of check points in the Nablus governorate have been easier to cross.

– Ramallah/al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:

Earth mounds in ‘Ein Arik have again been removed, thereby making movement easier. However, a presence of flying checkpoints throughout the governorate and the frequent and irregular closure of An Nabi Saleh Gate, are all making the movement for Palestinians difficult.
Ongoing construction of the Separation Barrier in Rantis south towards Qibya.
In Budrus the construction of the Separation Barrier is still on halt. (It was not declared a closed military area as announced in media on 09 of January).Construction works are expected to start soon due to the movement of construction equipment along the route of the Separation Barrier.

– Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:

Ongoing construction of the Separation 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 Separation 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 Separation Barrier construction opposite az Zayem Checkpoint, where land levelling down to the east in the valley to Maaly Adoumim to be completed.
The replacement of 3-meter concrete blocks with 9-meter ones is on going in Abu Dees to the north of the junction near the main road and south behind the Cliff hotel near the “Palestinian legislative Council Building”. Several stores near the junction were ordered to shut down and Border Police imposed restrictions on moving in and out for cars and pedestrians.
During the last week, Israeli Border Police erected several flying checkpoints in the neighbourhoods near East Jerusalem, confiscating vehicles under the pretext that these vehicles had West Bank ID holders in them for one month. More than 70 were confiscated and parked in the Qalandiya airport.

Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:

27 Jan – 9 Feb: Work continues at Gilo on the new site for the Border Police checkpoint. Fences have been erected around the construction site on the eastern side of the road. On the western side of the road excess dirt and rubble from the site is being used to create the foundations of a new section of the Separation Barrier.
29 January – 3 February: IDF imposed a tight closure on Bethlehem District after the suicide bomb attack in Jerusalem: all check points in the District were closed.
9 February: Israeli Border Police dug up once more the three trenches cutting the road from Walaja to Bethlehem (Cremisan). The trenches had been filled in by the local residents to allow for the passage of vehicles during the Al Eid period at the end of January.
9 February: The Border Police blocked the only access road to the village of An Nu’man, Bethlehem District rendering it a closed village.
The number of valid permits for buses of the Hebron national bus company is 29, of which 21 for public transport between Hebron and Bethlehem and 8 for movement between Hebron and Jericho. From 30 January until 3rd of February the IDF prevented the buses to carry passengers from Bethlehem District to Hebron District. Restrictions applied also to private Palestinian vehicles travelling from Hebron along the Wadi Sair secondary road.

Gaza crossings/checkpoints

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 15 January 2004, the women were not allowed move through the checkpoint. Since 28 January 2004, IDF started to allow women to get in and out of Al Seafa but movement is subject to full body search and with 24 hours prior coordination.
Al-Mawassi: IDF imposed restrictions remain, with the entry-exit gate opening twice daily for Al Mawassi ID holders from 07.00 to 09.00 and 14.30 to 17.00. 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. Since 21 January till 9 February 2004, IDF was completely closing at-Toffah check point denying the access of all people as well as the goods. It was reopened on10 February 2004, Tel as-Sultan checkpoint (RAFAH) was closed on 10 February 2004.

9. Access to schools

9 February: In Surif village, Hebron District, the IDF attacked the Boys’ Secondary School with tear gas and sound bombs, one teacher was injured.
No major delays for teachers and school children have been reported over the past two weeks. However, over the past two weeks there have been reports of harassment and body search of female students at the Ras Tira gate. Increased (psychological) harassment of school children by the IDF has also been reported at the Jbara gate, e.g. one parent reported that his child was forced to take a hand grenade and throw it.

10. Labour movement to Israel

West Bank:

All work permits to Israel for Tulkarm and Qalqilya are still under suspension as a consequence of the incidence that took place in Tel Aviv on 25 December. A further total of 60 renewed/new traders’ permits over the past two weeks have been issued for Qalqilya and another 100 for Tulkarm. According to Palestinian DCL, the current number in Tulkarm stands at approximately 800 and 650 in Qalqilya.
In Hebron and Bethlehem Districts no new workers’ permits were issued during the reporting period. In Hebron District there are a total of 670 valid permits released for traders, and approximately 90 are valid in Bethlehem.

Gaza

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 is problematic on account of the suicide bombing that took place on January 14. The IDF is requiring workers to show their legs and raise their shirts before being allowed passage. Injuries from congestion are still being reported as workers undergo a “filtration process” that takes place in a tunnel measuring 88 metres by 11 metres.

11,943 permits to enter Israel were issued to Palestinian agricultural and construction workers and 1,343 traders.

11. Other incidents

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates

8 February: The IDF entered the secondary school in Shweikah in Tulkarm and conducted a search campaign. No arrests were reported.
9 February: The IDF entered Tulkarm Refugee Camp around 04:30 in the morning. One person was injured while attempting to escape. He and his three brothers were arrested. Concurrently, the IDF conducted a search campaign in the southern part of Tulkarm city. No arrests were reported.

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates

Several and search and arrest campaigns took place during the reporting period in Nablus, Jenin and Tubas.
08 February: IDF entered Fatayer street south of Nablus and occupied one house and held the residences of the building in one room. A search of the nearby housed took place, but no arrests were reported.
09 February: IDF occupied a four-storey building in Silah adh Dhaher village south of Jenin and used the building as an observation point. 20 people residing in the building were locked in one room.

Ramallah/Al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:

29 January: The IDF entered al Bireh and conducted a search operation. Two people were arrested.
29 January: The IDF entered the village of Kobar and arrested two people.

Hebron/Bethlehem governorates:

28 January: Four Palestinians were beaten in Jin’ba village (Hebron District) by settlers from Susya settlement.
30 January: The IDF entered Bethlehem city at night. Search and arrest campaigns took place in Aida Refugee Camp, ad Duheisha Refugee Camp, Beit Jibrin (al Azeh) Refugee Camp, and Bethlehem city.
2 February: Four Israeli soldiers were injured and one Palestinian was killed during a military operation in Aida camp. Confrontations took place in the camp during the day and IDF used live ammunition, rubber bullets and tear gas in the clashes. Three Palestinians were injured and four were arrested during arrest campaign at night.
7 February: Settlers from Kiryat Arba attacked Palestinians from Wadi An-Nasara to prevent them from using “Prayer’s road”
8 February: Settlers from Tel Rumeida attacked Palestinian houses in H2 with stones and empty bottles causing damage. Three Palestinians were assaulted and injured, two of them children.
9 February: One settler from Betar Illit was injured when Palestinians threw a firebomb at a car on route 375, between the villages of Husan and Battir.

Gaza

09 February: 6 Fishermen from Beach Refugee Camp were arrested by IDF when sailing. No fishing is currently possible from any area of al Mawasi.
During the reporting period 65 mortars, 23 home made rockets and 9 anti tanks missile have been fired towards the Israeli settlements of Neve Dekalim, Dugit, Netzarim, and Gadid. No injuries reported.
28 January: 8 Palestinians were killed and another 4 injured during an incursion of at least 5 IDF tanks, 3 bulldozers into az Zaytouna area south of Gaza City
30 January: Two Palestinians were killed and another injured when IDF spotted the three of them trying to plant a road side bomb east of Dugit Settlement.

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

END


Appendix: Checkpoints Status 28 January – 10 February 2004

Checkpoints

Commercial checkpoints:

Road Gates

Separation Barrier Gates

Closure Status – January 2004

Closure statistics by Governorate


Document Type: Note
Document Sources: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
Subject: Incidents, Situation in the OPT including Jerusalem
Publication Date: 10/02/2004