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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
9 March 2004



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 (03 - 09 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 -- Appendix


1. Casualties
Palestinians: 33 deaths, 134 injured
Israelis:
0 deaths, 1 injured

2. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams
Denial of access: 2 incidents
Delay (40-120 min.): 5 incidents
Shooting/Damage to Ambulance: 2 incidents

3. Curfews

• The curfew imposed on Husan village on 22 February continued until 5 March for a total of 13 days.
3-5 March: The IDF imposed curfew on the houses next to bypass road 60 close to the Al-Aroub refugee camp (Hebron District). The curfew was imposed to allow the IDF to install a high perimeter metal net on the side of the bypass road next to the camp to prevent stoning and firebomb launches.
• Curfews were reported in the following locations: Beit Ummar (5 days), Tell, Ya’bad, Haret Abu Sneineh in Hebron H2 (1 day).

4. House demolitions/Demolition Orders

03 March: 6 farmers from Jayyous, Qalqiliya district, received demolition orders for six animal farms.
• Bedouin communities in Al ‘Auja have received final demolition orders for several sheep shacks.
04 March: The Israeli High Court approved the “partial” demolition of 3 houses in Hebron H2 area, and the requisition of additional land on both sides to expand the existing prayers’ road between Kiryat Arba' Settlement and Al Ibrahimi Mosque.



5. Land levelling/confiscation

• Ongoing land levelling near Isla in Qalqilya district close to Alfei Menashe settlement.
02 March: IDF issued a confiscation order for approximately 120 dumums (30 acres) of farmland in the village of Kfar Laqif in Qalqiliya district for the expansion of the existing bypass road between the Qarne Shomoron settlement and the neighbouring settlements. The existing road will be expanded by 1 km from each side for a length of 10 meters.
04 March: Land levelling started on Deir Qaddis land between the village and the Modi’in settlement bloc. In 1999, when the Israelis started bulldozing village land for the expansion of Modi’in settlement the village council took the case to the Israeli Court of Justice; the court halted the construction.
• Land levelling on Beitunia land has also accelerated and bulldozers are now working west on the hills towards Beit Ur al Fauqa.
25 February1: 50 dunum (12.5 acres) of agricultural land planted with vegetables were levelled by Israeli bulldozers adjacent to Elisha military settlement in Jericho district on the grounds of being Carea. 8 Palestinian families depended on this land.
03 March: The IDF bulldozed half a dunum of cultivated land at the entrance of the village of Beit Ummar, where the attack against the settler travelling on route 60 occurred.
3-9 March: The IDF resumed the levelling of the land in Wadi Al Ghruz, Hebron District, and the installation of a security fence between the Kharsina and Kiryat Arba settlements.
4 March: Settlers from Alon Shvut uprooted and cut down about 110 peach, apricot and pear trees in the area of Khallet Sakariya, Bethlehem District.

________
1Information was received in the last week.

Gaza:
04 March: 12 dunums (3 acres) of olive trees have been uprooted as well as eight greenhouses planted with cucumber and tomatoes destroyed in Rafah.

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

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates:
• Both Tulkarm and Qalqilya towns and surrounding villages as well as in Salfit district saw an intense military presence patrolling with jeeps and tanks in the streets ahead of and during the Jewish holiday Purim. All main entrances to Tulkarm town were reported closed for three days (6-8 March) and an increased number of checkpoints established. Only internationals and medical staff and school children were allowed free movement during the holiday. The restrictions, however did not affect the Barrier gates significantly (apart from Azzun Atma).
• The dismantling of the Barrier from Zeita to Qaffin through Baqa Ash Sharqiya has now been completed, except for the concrete foundation and the military road, which according to the “Seam Zone” Ministry of Defence are not included in the dismantling plan.
• 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/Jenin/Tubas governorates:
03 March: IDF enhanced the closure on Bizzariya village north of Nablus and added new earth mounds on the internal roads connecting the village to the neighbouring villages, leaving the village totally isolated.
03 March: IDF closed the only road connecting the village of Iraq Burin, south of Nablus, and its nearby spring which is the main source of water for the village.
05- 06 March: IDF closed most of the check points in the governorates of Nablus and Tubas and intensified the flying check points on the main roads connecting Nablus with other cities and along the main road in the Jordan valley in conjunction of the Purim holiday.

Ramallah/al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:
04 March: Qalandia checkpoint was closed for two days and a flying checkpoint was set up inside Ramallah at Samira Mis.
06 March: The checkpoint at Atara Bridge was reinstated early morning causing long delays and disrupting movement between Ramallah and the northern villages. Palestinians were prohibited from driving their vehicles across the checkpoint to Ramallah, and only pedestrians (after inspection) could cross.
• A checkpoint was set up at Surda and the military was inspecting cars and IDs of Palestinians leaving Ramallah to go north.

Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:
• 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 Barrier consists of both fences and 8-meter concrete blocks.
• 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 Adumim settlement.
• Land levelling for the preparations of the Barrier in Beit Surik and Bet Ijza has been on halted since 29 February. However, on 8 March, land levelling for the Barrier started in Bet Duqqu.
• A total closure with no entrance to Israel for West Bank ID card holders from East Jerusalem and Jericho was imposed in the morning hours 05 March due to Purim. Palestinians with humanitarian needs only were allowed entry. The closure lasted until the morning hours of 09 March.
06 March: Ar Ram checkpoint was closed for all traffic for several hours.

Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:
• Movement restrictions continued during the reporting period with the closure around Bethlehem. Access in the western side of the district was extremely difficult due to the extended curfew on Husan village. Garbage was collected for the first time in these villages on 8 March. The closure of Beit Jala DCO is of great concern since, if permanent, it would isolate six villages in the western part of the District.
• Movement between Hebron and Bethlehem remains possible only by public transport as the old route 356 remains closed by an earth mound.
3 - 9 March: The village of An Nu’man remains closed and without access since 25 February despite intensive inter-agency efforts with the IDF DCL in Gush Etzion to re-establish access.
3 - 9 March: Private contractors have completed 200 meters of a concrete wall in the section going from the Emmanuel Monastery to the edge of the area seized by the IDF for a new checkpoint at the entrance of Bethlehem.
3 - 9 March: Contractors continued levelling land between the villages of Al Khas and Sur Bahir for the construction of the Barrier.
• As construction of the Barrier continues, roads for Palestinians wishing to avoid checkpoints to move to Jerusalem for work are being quickly reduced. Movement is now physically possible only in the area of Tantur, at the entrance of Bethlehem, and the area of Wadi Hummus, north-east of An Nu’man.
• The number of valid permits for the buses of Hebron national bus company is 30, of which 23 for public transport between Hebron and Bethlehem and 7 for movement between Hebron and Jericho. Buses have been prevented to reach Jericho due to the tight closure imposed by the IDF because of Purim.

Gaza
The enclosed areas:
As-Seafa: As-Seafa: Movement remains restricted by the IDF with the entry-exit gate opening twice daily for As-Seafa ID holders from 06:30 - 08:30 and 14.00 - 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 - 09.00 and 14.30 - 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 Al Mawassi males 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

• The closure of the gate in Azzun Atma in conjunction with the Jewish Purim holidays affected the access to the schools students trying to cross after 7:30.
• 74 teachers were denied access to the Tayasir gate and the Hamra check point in the districts of Tubas and Nablus.
• Access to schools for students and teachers/staff in East Jerusalem continues to deteriorate following the closure policy in general and the construction of the Barrier in particular.
• Since the Jerusalem suicide bomb on 22 February schools at Husan village were closed completely for 13 days; Nahalin and Battir were affected partially due to the absence of some teachers from Husan and eastern side of Bethlehem District. A number of Bethlehem University students from both districts could not reach the University due to the curfew on Husan and the closure on Bethlehem District. In Hebron District, schools in the village of Ar Ramadin were closed as a result of curfew being imposed following the killing of two Jewish settlers in the area.
• 14 out of the 24 schools (5219 student and 140 teachers) will be affected in the district of Bethlehem by the Barrier.
• UNRWA reported continuous disruption in teachers’ access to schools in different districts due to closure, curfew and lack of permits.

8. Labour movement to Israel

West Bank:
Tulkarm/Qalqilya: A total of 142 work permits were issued/renewed for both Tulkarm and Qalqilya districts over the week. A total of 124 trader permits were issued/renewed for Tulkarm district and none for Qalqilya.
• 49 new trade and working permits were issued in Jenin governorate (The total is 863 active permits in the governorate).
• 54 new trade permits were issued in Nablus governorate.
• No working permits for Jericho residents to Israel were issued.
• 137 trade permits in Jericho district into Israel were applied for by the Palestinian DCL on February. 97 were granted.

Gaza:
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.

11,803 permits to enter Israel were issued to Palestinian agricultural and construction workers and 1,375 traders.



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

END



Appendix: Checkpoints Status 03 - 09 March 2004


Checkpoints







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