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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
24 February 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 (18 - 24 February 2004)

INSIDEINSIDE: Casualties -- Incidents involving ambulances -- Curfew -- House demolition -- Land levelling/confiscation -- Checkpoints/roadblocks/Barrier/restrictions on movement -- Access to Schools -- Labour movement to Israel -- Other incidents -- Checkpoint/Gates status -- Closure status January 2004


1. Casualties
Palestinians: 5 deaths, 83 injured (approximately)
Israelis:
8 deaths, 74 injured

2. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams
Denial of access: 0 incidents
Delay (1 - 4.5 hrs.): 2 incidents
Harassment/Abuse of medical crew: 1 incident

3. Curfews

Curfews were reported in the following locations: Husan (3 days) and Balata refugee camp (1 day).

4. House demolitions/Demolition Orders

19 February: IDF handed 13 demolitions order in Hebron district for the lack of municipal permit to build these houses: 3 in Baqa’a in Hebron City, 2 in al Baraka village and 7 in Jinba and at Taban east sout of Yatta.
24 February: The tent provided to by ICRC to the family of the Jerusalem suicide bomber after demolishing their house was burnt by IDF soldiers.




5. Land levelling/confiscation
West Bank:
• Ongoing land levelling near Isla in Qalqilya district for the expansion of Alfei Menashe settlement.
24 February: Israeli bulldozers began clearing land planted with olive trees between Beit Sira and Beit Liqya villages in Ramallah district. According to the head of Beit Sira village council, villagers protested and clashes erupted; the IDF opened fire with tear gas and rubber bullets. Seven youth were injured; two sustained head injuries and have been hospitalized in Ramallah.
• The Israeli authorities have begun widening part of an old settler road (no. 455) that runs from Ofer military camp around the hill south of Beituniya to the Ain Arik road in Ramallah district.
24 February: The IDF cut at nearly 100 trees on route 60 close to the entrance for the Al Arroub Refugee Camp, to allow the military observation tower a clear view of approaching vehicles.

Gaza:
18 February: 17 dunums of agricultural land in Dair Al Balah as well as a hen pen were levelled.
18 February: 8 dunums of Olives and 5 green houses in Rafah were levelled.
19 February: On account of building a new route parallel to the settlement road, 138 dunums of grape vines were uprooted when three IDF bulldozers moved out from Netzarim and entered into the area south of the settlement.
20 February: 3 dunums of greenhouses and 2 dunums of guava were destroyed when two IDF bulldozers and two tanks entered the area south east of Dair El Balah.
21 February: 100 dunums of olive and citrus have been uprooted when two IDF bulldozers entered the area west of Karni-Netzarim road.

6. Checkpoints/roadblocks/ Barrier/Restrictions on movement

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates:
• There has been further relaxation in the movement with no new major restrictions (roadblocks, earth mounds, and closures) imposed on the local population in both Tulkarm and Qalqiliya districts. All checkpoints have been operational and in general only few military operations took place.
• The new barrier through Nazlat Isa was completed on 18 February. A new gate/checkpoint has been established in Nazlat Isa to control the movement into and out of the West Bank. On 22 February, the IDF started to dismantle the Barrier that runs east of Baqa Ash Sharqiya from Zeita up to Qaffin (more details are described in the gate table below). The complete opening of the old gate passages at Baqa Ash Sharqiya and Qaffin has naturally led to a considerable ease of the movement in the northern part of Tulkarm district. However, according to the village councils of Baqa Ash Sharqiya, Qaffin and Zeita, more than 750 dunums of land have been damaged (- approximately 2000 dunums of land were confiscated) due to the construction and approximately 7000 trees have been uprooted (mainly olive and citrus).
• 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 opening hours of the agricultural gates have not strictly been adhered to by the IDF as announced. There are frequent delays.

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates:
• Nablus remained under closure while movement in Jenin and Tubas was not subject to serious restrictions.
20 February: IDF erected an earth mound at the access point into the villages of Salem, Azmout and Deir al Hatab in Nablus district. Dirt tracks, subjected to reprisals when used, are the only access routes to these villages.
24 February: Farmers from the village of Al Mughayyir, Jenin district, were denied access to their farming land located close to (west of the Barrier) without obtaining green permits.

Ramallah/al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:
• Construction of the Barrier beside Budrus and Qibiya continues. Villagers in Budrus are now daily subject to heavy gun fire from military patrols touring the village in addition to the firing from a nearby Israeli military base.
• The earth mound blocking the main road to Shuqba (from route 465) was again removed on 31 January making access easier for the western villages. However, access to Deir Abu Mash’al, Aboud, Rantis, Umm Safa and the Bani Zeid cluster of villages continues to be difficult.

Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:
22 February: following the bus bombing in Jerusalem, Israeli Police and security increased their forces around Jerusalem at checkpoints.
24 February: Land levelling and for the preparation of the construction of the Barrier started in Beit Surik village North West of Jerusalem. Villages tried to protest from damaging their agricultural land, but were forced to evacuate the area by using tear gas and rubber bullets, approximately 33 people were injured.
• Construction of the Barrier is continuing in different sections in Khallet a Nu’man and northwards near Har Hommah settlement, Ash Sheikh Sa’ad, Sour Baher, Sawahriya ash Sharqiya and Abu Dis.
• The construction of the Barrier in Eizariya east to Mount of Olives near to Beit Fagi monastery is moving rapidly in terms of installing an 8 meter concrete wall to close the remaining section of the passage from Eizariyah to Mount of Olives.
• The construction of the Barrier has also started opposite to Zayem Checkpoint with land levelling east of the valley towards Ma’ale Adoumim settlement.
• Three to four flying checkpoints have been established on a daily basis in the morning hours near the neighbourhoods of Mount Of Olives and Ras al Amood to check Palestinians if they have Jerusalem ID cards.

Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:
• Following the bus bombing in Jerusalem on Sunday 22 February, movement restrictions have been applied to the southern part of the West Bank, particularly in the District of Bethlehem. Movement in and out of the three towns of Bethlehem, Beit Jala and Bei Sahour is now extremely difficult for Palestinians, even for United Nations staff. Two checkpoints, Beit Jala DCO and Walaja are closed. Since 22 February, public transport unable to cross Gush Etzion checkpoint.
• The restrictions in the District have adversely affected also the Palestinian villages of Nahalin and Battir, which depend on access through Husan, in the west of the District.
• Movement between Hebron District and Bethlehem has been also severely curtailed by the closure of route 356 by a newly erected earth mound. This is the only road Palestinians can use with private vehicles without having to request a permit. Movement to the northern part of the West Bank is also severely affected as the Border Police checkpoint at Wadi Nar (“Container”) prevented Palestinians to cross.
19 February: The IDF put Beit Ummar village, Hebron District, under tight closure in response to stone throwing by children at the observation tower at the entrance of the village. The IDFprevented the UN World Food Programme to enter the village for monitoring and later was allowed after liaison with the Israeli DCL.
22 February: The Beit Jala DCO check point was closed down following the bus bombing in Jerusalem.
22 February: A new earth mound was set up on Wadi Sair, preventing travel between Hebron and Bethlehem District along route 356.

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 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 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 remains closed since 14 February. On 24 February 2004, IDF opened Al Toffah checkpoint for one hour only. This closure denied ANERA, Norwegian People’s Aid and MSF access into Al Mawassi in spite of an earlier request for prior coordination.

7. Access to schools
• Apart from the students in Ras Tira in Qalqiliya district that have experienced delays at the gate of more than one hour, no other major delays for teachers and school children have been reported over the past week.
• Villagers of Dheir Ghassana report frequent, almost daily, harassment from the IDF, including the firing of sound bombs around the schools and instances of physical abuse of school pupils.

8. Labour movement to Israel

West Bank:
Tulkarem/Qalqilya: All work permits to Israel are still under suspension. No new trader permits have been issued and/or renewed over the past week. However, the Palestinian DCL has submitted a request for 200 new trader permits, which are currently under review.
Jenin: Working and trade permits were issued to 900 residents of Jenin.

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. Regular injuries are still being reported on account of the congestion.

11,700 permits to enter Israel were issued to Palestinian agricultural and construction workers and 1,515 traders.


9. Other incidents

Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates
• 18 February: The IDF entered Bal’a village in Tulkarm district under shooting in an operation that lasted only approximately 20 minutes. As a result, two people were lightly injured and brought to the hospital in Tulkarm for treatment.
23 February: Demonstrations against the Barrier took place throughout both districts in conjunction with the public hearing before the International Court of Justice (ICJ). Clashes between IDF and the local population were reported in the area of Qaffin and Baqa Ash Sharqiya as well as in Deir al Ghusun in Tulkarm district.

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates
19 February: IDF entered the Balata camp injuring three Palestinians
20 February: IDF carried out house searches in Salem, Azmout and Deir al Hatab.
24 February: A detonation exploded near an IDF patrol south of the Al Tur check point. No injuries were reported.

Ramallah/Al-Bireh/Beituniya governorates:
• An estimated 1,000 villagers from Beit Sira, Kharbatha al Misbah and Beit Ur Fauqa, together with some internationals, gathered in Beit Sira on 19 February and staged a peaceful and orderly demonstration against planned Barrier construction in that area. Demonstrations were also held in Budrus on 23 February involving people the neighbouring villages of Qibiya, Ni’lin, Al Midya, and Shuqba. On the same day, some 4,000 people gathered in the centre of Ramallah and school students in Deir Qaddis also staged a small protest.
20 February: The IDF entered Deir Ghassana village, searched three houses belonging to the same family and arrested two brothers, aged 17 and 19 years.

Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:
22 February: A suicide bombing took place in Jerusalem near the Bell Garden, killing 8 people and injuring approximately 72 people.
23 February: Hundreds of Palestinians and solidarity groups participated in demonstrations in Abu Dis, ar Ram and the American Consulate in East Jerusalem against the construction of the Barrier. No injuries were reported.

Hebron/Bethlehem governorates:
19 February: Search and arrest campaign took place in Hebron district and 8 people were arrested: 5 from Yatta city and 3 from Hebron city.
19 February: The IDF entered Bethlehem city, Al-Khader, Ad-doha and ad Deheisheh Refugee Camp. Search and arrest campaigns were conducted and 4 people were arrested from ad Deheisheh Refugee Camp.
19 February: Palestinians opened fire on an Israeli vehicle near Tekoa settlement east of Bethlehem; no injuries were reported.
19 February: Settlers from Karme’l settlement set new caravans in a land, south of Yatta, Hebron district.
19 February: Settlers from Kiryat Arba settlement attacked a house in Wad An-Nasara, Hebron district, injuring a 14-year old girl.
19 February: The IDF entered Hebron University and the Polytechnic, searched and damaged some offices and equipments.
20 February: The IDF entered Beit Sahour city and arrested 6 persons.
21 February: Settlers from Tekoa settlement shot and injured 4 shepherds from the Palestinian village of Tequ’a, Bethlehem District; one of them a child.
23 February: Two marches against the Barrier took place in both Hebron and Bethlehem Districts. Clashes erupted near Rachel Tomb between anti- Barrier demonstrators and the IDF: 15 persons were admitted to hospital following gas inhalations. At the same time in Hebron city, in Bab Az-Zaweih area, clashes erupted between the IDF and anti- leaving seven persons in need for hospitalization due to gas inhalation. In Beit Ummar four persons were transported to hospital following clashes during a similar demonstration.

Gaza
18 February: A 15 year old boy in the vicinity of Kfar Darom settlement was shot in the back with the presence of an international organization. The boy is now in an Israeli hospital awaiting treatment for a spinal wound.
• 9 mortars, 3 homes made rockets and 4 anti tanks missile have been fired towards the Israeli settlements of Neve Dekalim, Dugit, Netzarim, and Gadid. No injuries reported.
19 February: IDF deported a West Bank Palestinian prisoner, a resident of a village near ramallah from Ketzi’ot jail in the Negev to the Gaza Strip through Erez Checkpoint. He has been ordered to remain in Gaza for four years.
20 February: two IDF soldiers were lightly wounded when two anti-tank missiles were fired towards an Israeli convoy travelling on Karni Netzarim road.
23 February: four Palestinian fishermen were arrested after being chased by an IDF Gunboat opposite Deir al Balah.

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

END



Appendix: Checkpoints Status 18 - 24 February 2004









Closure Status - January 2004


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