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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
13 May 2002


Humanitarian Update on Gaza Strip
Issue No. 5




The overall situation in the Gaza Strip remains tense as fears of an imminent IDF incursion remain high among the local population.

No casualties have been reported over the last 24 hours.

In the afternoon, explosions have been reported north of Beit Lahya. At Erez crossing, IDF tanks and vehicles entered 200 meters deep into the area between the Israeli checkpoint and the Palestinian border but completely withdrew an hour later.

Closures

The total internal closure regime and movement restrictions introduced by the IDF at the end of March continue to be enforced without major modifications.

The Karni cargo terminal - the only entry point for goods to Gaza from Israel - was re-opened today. However, the crossing functioned at 10 percent of its capacity. The Palestinian exports are allowed according to the needs of the Israeli market. As regards imports, there is a list of forbidden goods, such as chemicals, certain metals, etc. that are not allowed to the Strip. All imported goods are subjected to lengthy security checks averaging up to 5 days.

Following the murder of an Israeli settler on 12 May at Rafiah Yam, a strict curfew has been imposed by the IDF in Al-Mawasi (6,000 residents). Also, the IDF conducted arrests in the area and detained six local residents. For more than 24 hours now, the residents of Al-Mawasi are confined to their residences. Those residents who were outside the area at the time of the imposition of the curfew are not currently authorized to return to their homes. In contrast, Al-Mawasi' checkpoints (Tel as-Sultan and Tufah) were opened for Palestinian laborers coming from outside to work in Israeli settlements.

The movement restriction regime implemented by the IDF through various checkpoints at crossroads, by-pass roads and "Palestinian roads" remained unchanged. The main axis connecting the Gaza city with the Middle Area has been hermetically closed for 11 consecutive days, thus diverting the traffic to the coastal road.




The Abu Houli checkpoint was opened twice today. First in the morning, the road opened from 8.00 to 11.15 AM, then from 4.25 PM till 7.38 PM. Today the road has been opened for 6 hours 28 minutes.

No improvements are currently observed in Sayafa area (Palestinian enclave on the northern segment of the Gaza/Israel border) where the tight closures regime and movement restrictions prevent the local community (120 persons) from accessing basic services, including medical aid.


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