OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes – OPT (27 April – 04 May 2004) – OCHA report


OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS

P.O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem

Phone: (972) 2 – 5829962 / 5825853, Fax: (972) 2 – 5825841

ochaopt@un.org, www.ochaopt.org


OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes

Update for oPt (28 April – 4 May 2004)

INSIDEINSIDE:   Casualties — Incidents involving ambulances — Curfew — House demolition — Land levelling/confiscation — Checkpoints/roadblocks/Barrier/restrictions on movement — Education — Labour movement to Israel —  Appendix

1.  Casualties

Palestinians: 17 deaths, 56 injured
Israelis: 5 deaths, 9 injured

Sources:  OCHA FCU, PRCS, IDF website, Israeli MoFA

2. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams

Denial of access: 4 incidents

Delay (1-5 hours): 9 incidents

Physical/Verbal abuse of Medical team:  2 incidents

Shooting/Damage to Ambulance: 3 incidents

Evacuation of Patient from an Ambulance:  1 incident:  A dialysis patient was evacuated from the ambulance and denied him access.  He was accompanied by another patients (1-year old girl) with respiratory problems.

Since 17 January 2004, following the suicide bombing at Erez in which four IDF soldiers were killed, Israeli authorities have imposed additional restrictions on the MOH ambulances transporting Gaza patients to Israeli and West Bank hospitals.  All patients and medical staff are required now to use the worker's tunnel to proceed to the Israeli side and no longer the VIP track.
Since 22 March 2004, the number of medical transfers dropped sharply.  Only 6-10 co-ordinations were approved per day while more than 40 per day were approved before 17 January 2004.
Since 18 April 2004, the number of medical transfer has dropped to 2-3 per day following the assassination of Dr. Rantisi.

Sources:  FCU, PRCS,  MoH

3. Curfews

Curfews were reported in the following locations:

Sources:  OCHA FCU, UNRWA

4. House demolitions/Demolition Orders

Sources:  OCHA FCU, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights, PCHR, MSA

5. Land levelling/confiscation1

West Bank:

25 April: Settlers from Mizad B Settlement uprooted 50 olive trees belonging to Palestinians from Sa'ir, Hebron District.
28 April:  The IDF leveled and uprooted olive trees belonging to six families in Deir Istiya, that covered 10 dunums at the west entrance to Deir Istiya in Salfit district because they claimed it obscured the view to the road and Molotov cocktails had been thrown from this area.
29 April:  IDF levelled 4 dunums near a gas station at 'Ein el Beida village while demolishing the station.
29 April:  Settlers from Neve Daniel Settlement confiscated 10 dunums of land near the settlement belonging to Palestinians from Al Khadr village, Bethlehem District.
02 May: A large demonstration was organized by Deir Qaddis villagers to protest Modi'in settlement expansion on 2,000 dunums of village land between Deir Qaddis and Ni'lin that was confiscated a few years ago.  The Israeli High Court halted the construction recently and the land was scheduled to be handed back to the village in 2005.
03 May: Residents of Ras Khamis in Shu'fat received confiscation orders for 51.5 dunum of land for the construction of the Barrier in that area.

Gaza:

29 April:  IDF bulldozers dug a deep trench approximately 700 metres in length next to Salah Ed-Din road, between Khar Darom settlement and Kissufim junction in an attempt to prevent Palestinian cars reaching the area.
30 April:  10 dunums of land of citrus trees were leveled in the area to east of Al Bureij refugee camp.
02 May:  4 dunums planted with vegetables were levelled in western area of Al Qarara in Khan Yunis.

Sources:  OCHA FCU

____________
1 4 dunums = 1 acre

6. Checkpoints/Roadblocks/Separation Barrier/Restrictions on movement

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates:

The status of high alert continued over the week with restrictions on the movement of the local population.  A number of search campaigns and military raids were conducted in the towns and villages in all three districts of Qalqilya, Tulkarm and Salfit.  Over the week, the IDF intensified the checking of commuters on the main roads (road 55 and 57) using public transportation.  The two  main entrances to Tulkarm town has been under closure for the local population only allowing selected groups of people to cross.
Israeli DCL confirmed that the new system to administer and issue green permits at its office in  Tulkarm would take a few more months before it is operational.  Due to the limited capacity at DCL in Qalqilya to expedite these requests individually, the DCL has instructed the Palestinian DCL in the interim to co-ordinate and submit requests for green permits collectively on behalf of applicants.  Once the new system is operating in Tulkarm, Qalqilya DCL will undergo the same change, after the "pilot phase" in Tulkarm has proven sustainable.
The additional earth mounds that were put together in front of all the main entrances to Ramin village in Tulkarm district were removed allowing all local residents to move freely again.
There have been no major changes taking place on the agricultural gates over the past week.
Construction of the tunnel between Habla and Qalqilya town is ongoing.

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates:

Major delays occurred at checkpoints around Nablus, especially students and young people. On 3 May, all checkpoints were totally closed for Palestinians.
Major delays and harassment were witnessed at Tayasir checkpoint in Tubas governorate.
28 April: IDF announced Jordan valley a closed military area.  Most of the checkpoints in northern Jordan Valley were closed for Palestinians.
28 April: IDF entered Yabad town (Jenin), imposed curfew on the town and closed its entrances with earth mounds.
29 April:  Flying checkpoints were put near Al Fara'a refugee camp, Tamun village and Al Aqrabaniya village (Tubas governorate).
03 May:  Flying checkpoints were erected at the entrance of Al Fara'a Refugee Camp and Al Aqrabaniya village (Tubas).
03 May:  WFP team was denied access at Huwwara checkpoint; the team was told that the checkpoint is closed for all including UN staff.

Ramallah/al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:

The partial checkpoint at Atara Bridge was operating on a daily basis.  On 02 May, at An Nabi Saleh partial checkpoint, UN field staff member witnessed three children (ages 12-13) being held at the checkpoint with their hands tied behind their backs.

Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:

The closure imposed on the West Bank and Gaza has prevented people from entering Jerusalem as well as Jericho.  Numerous flying checkpoints in East Jerusalem were established.
The "Container" checkpoint, on Wadi Nar Road, the main road between the southern and northern West Bank has been closed for all, pedestrian as well as vehicular, traffic all week.  Palestinians have tried to bypass the checkpoint by walking down the hill just before the checkpoint, sometimes being chased, beaten and detained by the Border Police.  Numerous reports have also occurred on delays for ambulances at this checkpoint.
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 and will close the remaining section of the passage from al ‘Eizariyah to the Mount of Olives.
The construction of the Barrier opposite Al Quds University is moving rapidly.
The construction of the Barrier ongoing opposite az Za'yem Checkpoint with land levelling east of the valley towards Ma’ale Adumim settlement.
Land levelling for the construction of the Barrier in the north western villages of Beit Surik, Biddu, Beit Duqqu, Bet Ijza, Al Qubeiba and Qatanna has continued throughout the week.
02 May:  the Israeli Supreme Court decided again to suspend the construction works of the Barrier in Bet Surik.
The road between Qalandiya CP and Jaba' village east was closed on 30 May and 01 May.
The stretch of concrete slabs in the middle of the road between Dahiet al Barid and Qalandiya checkpoint is now 800m long.

Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:

The implementation of tight closure in the southern part of the West Bank has prevented movement of Palestinians between the two districts and into Jerusalem.  The fragmentation of the District of Hebron in enclaves by closing and locking gates on Halhoul Bridge, the road to Beit Kahil, Dura – Al Fawwar junction and the significant increase in the number of flying checkpoints, also within H1 area – Hebron IDF and Israeli Border Police restricted the movement of Palestinian vehicular traffic within the District and between Hebron and Bethlehem.
Since 03 May:  In Bethlehem District, the heavy presence of IDF patrols have prevented Palestinians from crossing in or out of Bethlehem at the Al-Khadr – Husan junction, across route 60, compounding the isolation of the villages in the western part of the District of Bethlehem caused by the continued closure of the Beit Jala DCO checkpoint.  In addition, the curfew on Beit Sahour has effectively prevented Palestinians from entering or exiting the Bethlehem urban area.
28 April:  The IDF closed the main entrance of Idhna, Hebron District with earth mounds.
28 April to date:  The heavy presence of IDF at Al Khadr – Husan crossing, is restricting movement across bypass road 60, Bethlehem district.
30 April: The IDF closed the gates on Halhoul Bridge and put barbed wires.  IDF closed the main road with concrete blocks 50m before the bridge on Hebron side, Hebron District, preventing movement of Palestinians between the urban area of Hebron and Halhoul.  The IDF conducts body searches for the apprehended young people.
30 April:  The IDF closed the road from Hebron to Beit Kahil with earth mounds, Hebron District, preventing movement of Palestinians in or out of Hebron.
01 May: The IDF closed the gate at the entrance of Dura/at Al Fawwar/Dura junction, Hebron District.
The number of valid permits for the Hebron national bus company is 34, of which 26 for public transport between Hebron and Bethlehem and 8 for movement between Hebron and Jericho.  Since 30 April, buses could not move in or out of Hebron because IDF closed the gates on Halhoul Bridge and put barbed wires, 50m before the bridge on Hebron side; the main road was closed by concrete blocks.  At Gush Eitzion CP random checks took place and since 1 May, IDF has restricted transit through the CP preventing movement between the two districts.  No buses headed to Jericho this week since the "Container" checkpoint has remained closed since 22nd of March.
30 April to date:  Numerous incidents of harassment have been reported on Halhoul Bridge.  Clashes between stone throwing Palestinians and Border Police responding with rubber coated metal bullets, tear and shock grenades also occurred. On 04 May, one Palestinian youth, approx. 20 years old, was injured when one tear gas grenade hit him in the face.

Gaza

The enclosed areas in Gaza:

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 16.30. 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 17 April:  As-Seafa gate completely closed, no movement is allowed.
Since 22 April:  IDF is allowing 3-4 people to go in and out for one time only with prior coordination to bring food in.
Since 29 April:  IDF start to allow the schools' students to cross in and out in addition to the 3-4 people mentioned above.
01 and 02 May:  the gate was completely closed.

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. 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 was closed all week.
01, 02 and 03 May:  At-Toufah checkpoint was closed.
04 May:  People aged below 30 years, required to have prior coordination to move through Al Toffah checkpoint.

Kfar Darom.  The Palestinian area adjacent to Kfar Darom settlement was declared a Closed Military Zone following a suicide attack on 27 February 2004.  Since 20/7/2003 no vehicular movement was allowed as the IDF erected a fence around the area.  Movement restricted by the IDF with the entry-exit gate opening four times daily for Al Ma'ni ID holders from 06:30 to 07:30, 10:30 to 11:30, 13:00 to 14:00 and 16:00 to 17:00.

Sources:  OCHA FCU, UNSCO, UNRWA

7. Education

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya:
Over the past three days, children from Ramadin and Wadi Ar Rasha were not able to attend their classes in Habla and Ras Atiya as the bus transportation was suspended.  In Qalqilya, for two days the pupils did not attend school as they observed a mourning strike for the three Palestinians that were killed on 23 April during an IDF operation.
26 April:  During a military operation, tear gas was thrown into the UNRWA female school compound, 15 pupils suffered from tear gas inhalation.
Nablus:
28 April:  The schools in Yabad town (Jenin) were closed due to curfew.
29 April:  IDF closed the entrance of al Fara'a Refugee camp with earth mounds and did not allow the students to attend schools in the camp.
29 April:  The schools in Madama & Asira al Qbliya villages (Nablus) wee closed due to curfew. 
30 April:  Settlers from Shakid and Hanninit settlement in Um Ar Raihan enclave (Jenin) entered Um Ar Raihan village late at night and threatened to demolish the school in the village claiming that stones were thrown at the settlers' cars while passing near the school.
Bethlehem/Hebron:
Teachers and students could not reach their schools in Beit Sahour due to the curfew imposed on the city on 28-29 April.  Students in Hebron – H2 area, on their way to school, have experienced delays by the Border Police.
Jerusalem: Access for students and staff to schools/universities have been greatly restricted due to the strict closure imposed 22 March.  This has been especially noticeable for students/staff coming from the south of the West Bank trying to reach Al Quds University in Abu Dis and for non-residential teachers in Jericho.

Sources:  OCHA FCU, UNRWA, UNICEF

8. Labour movement to Israel

West Bank:

Tulkarm/Qalqilya: All work and trader permits into Israel are still under suspension since 22 March. It is not clear when the restriction will be lifted. Only severe medical cases are granted permission into Israel for urgent treatment through co-ordination with the Palestinian DCL.
Last week it was reported that the IDF had changed the logo of the green permits with requirements similar to those that Palestinian workers usually obtain to work inside Israel proper.  Israel DCL confirmed that IDF ascertained that this was an error made by the IDF, and that the permits had been printed with the wrong colour and given to people inadvertently.
Bethlehem/Hebron:  No trade or work permits were issued this month in Bethlehem.  In Hebron, 145 new permits were issued for traders and 108 permits were issued for the bypass roads this month but due to the tight closure on the Hebron District nobody was allowed to pass, none was released for workers.

Gaza:

Since 18 April:  Both Erez crossing and the Industrial Estate were closed and workers were allowed to cross.
11,429 workers holding valid work permits were not allowed to cross the Green Line due to the imposed closure.  Since 22 March 2004, Erez checkpoint has been closed for Palestinian workers but partially reopened for some tens of Palestinian traders aged 28 and above, on 28 March 2004.

Sources:  OCHA FCU, UNSCO, PMG

9.  Other:

02 May:  Settlers, accompanied by Israeli security forces, moved into two Palestinian occupied houses in Abu Dis.  The two houses are located west of the Barrier.  The area in question was apparently on Jewish hands in the early nineteen twenties.  This area is believed to be part of a settler community consisting of approx. 200 housing units.
28 April:  An Israeli gunboat opened fire towards fishing boats opposite Al Sudaniya, west of Beit Lahia.

END


Appendix: Checkpoints Status 28 April – 04 May2004


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