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10 April 2002
Press Release Jerusalem/07/2002
10 April 2002

Catastrophic conditions in Jenin camp.

Israeli soldiers arrest 104 students and the Dean of UNRWA’s Ramallah Men’s Training Center

Camp No. 1 residents in the Nablus area asked to leave their shelters. Large scale Israeli military operation underway in the camp.

Jerusalem - UNRWA’s Commissioner-General, Peter Hansen, has said that the humanitarian crisis in Jenin refugee camp is fast turning into a catastrophe. Following the death of some 13 Israeli soldiers yesterday during their incursion into the camp, Israeli tanks and bulldozers are intensifying their demolition of shelters, with field reports indicating that the bulldozers are “shaving off” shelters in the one kilometer square camp in which close to 15,000 refugees live.

UNRWA’s persistent and unrelenting efforts to gain access to the camp and to start the gruesome task of burying the dead, evacuating the wounded and bringing urgently needed food and water to the population have so far proved unsuccessful. Despite continuing requests to the Israel Defense Forces, UNRWA’s emergency teams, medical staff, ambulance crews, and trucks carying medicine and food continue to be blocked a few hundred meters from the Camp. The dreadful conditions in the Camp are such that if relief teams do not gain access immediately, a terrible humanitarian tragedy will ensue.

Early this morning a large number of Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles entered refugee Camp No.1 in the Nablus area and ordered all residents to leave their houses. Male residents of the camp between the ages of 14 to 50 years old were rounded up for detention. Bulldozers were also reported to have started demolishing homes in the camp and house-to-house searches were underway. UNRWA has called on the Israeli authorities to cease their incursion into Camp No.1 and to withdraw immediately.

In the largest Israeli military operation into an institute of higher learning, special Israeli forces and army units yesterday broke into UNRWA’s Ramallah Men's Training Center, arresting 104 trainees along with the Dean of the Center Dr. Mohammad Omran. UNRWA has launched a protest with the Israeli authorities and called for the immediate release of the trainees and the Dean, and also access for UNRWA's legal legal team to the detainees. UNRWA has reminded the Israeli authorities of their responsibility for the security and sanctity of UNRWA staff and facilities, and that military incursions into its facilities are unacceptable.

UNRWA Commissioner-General, Peter Hansen, has condemened the detention of trainees and Dr. Omran and added “incursions into UNRWA installations by Israeli forces and detention of UNRWA trainees and staff are completely unacceptable and contrary to Israel's obligations to guarantee the security of UN staff and installations. I demand the immediate release of the detainees.” He also expressed his deep dismay and concern at the continuing assaults on Jenin refugee camp and the new incursion into Camp No.1, despite calls from the international community for the withdrawal of Israeli forces without delay.

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