The Israeli Defense Force's (IDF) operation "Determined Path" is now entering its fourth week. Seven of the eight major West Bank urban centres and adjoining refugee camps (and some villages) are still re-occupied. Jenin town & camp have been under curfew since 18 June; Qalqiliya since 19 June; Beitunia and Bethlehem since 20 June; Nablus and Tulkarm since 21 June; Ramallah sine 24 June and Hebron since 25 June. Contrary to reports last week that the IDF would begin easing curfew restrictions to night hours, curfews are still confining an estimated 700,000 - 800,000 persons indoors for up to several days in a row. The curfew has been temporarily lifted for a few hours in certain localities, to allow residents to obtain essential supplies, but there is yet no regular everyday lifting in all the seven cities allowing people the opportunity to resume normal activities.
UNRWA reports that 15 of its 95 schools in the West Bank had still not completed the academic year by end-June, due to the curfews and re-occupation of the major towns. Altogether, 52 schools were closed for a total of 313 days in June, more than twice the number of days missed in May. There were 7,742 absences among UNRWA teachers in June and 1,558 absences among health staff, with 34 health facilities closed for a total of 58 days.
Closures and curfews also disrupted distribution schedules in June. As part of its emergency food aid programme, 6,652 rations were distributed to refugee families in 30 villages, the Askar, Balata and Jenin refugee camps, and the towns of Qalqiliya, Beit Sahour and Silwad. Over 10,500 families registered as Special Hardship Cases also received their entitlements. However, the number of cash grants offered was only half that of May, due to UNRWA social workers' inability to reach and assess needy families. Movement restrictions also limited the UNRWA Micro-finance and Micro-enterprise Programme's ability to disburse loans and borrowers capacity to make repayments. UNWRA reports that their operations in the West Bank continue to be hampered due to curfews, closures and permits restrictions. The Field Office in Jerusalem remains short of staff as a result of the lack of denial of access to Jerusalem for Palestinians residing in the West Bank.
The first of the Ministry of Youth and Ministry of Education's 180 summer camps opened this week, supported by UNICEF. The camps will provide psycho-social activities for some 30.000 children between the ages of 6 and 18 years, in accordance with the values embodied in the Convention on the Rights of the Child.
In Gaza, vehicular movement remains highly restricted. The crossing between Road No. 4 south of Gaza city and the by-pass road to Netzarim settlement has been closed since early May, with traffic diverted through the coastal road. Traffic between the central and southern parts of the Strip is channelled through Abu Houli checkpoint, all other roads being closed. Traffic through the checkpoint has improved recently, although it often remains difficult to cross as priority is given to the IDF and settlers.
The number of workers allowed into Israel on a daily basis increased last week, from approximately 450 to 750, mainly in agriculture. Male workers must be over 30 years of age with a family: women, over 25 years old and also with a family. The number of workers at the Erez industrial zone has been stable at around 2,850 per day.
This week, 7 Palestinians were killed in the Gaza Strip and 3 wounded. As of 12 July, 659 Palestinians have been killed and 9,393 injured in Gaza since the beginning of the current Intifada. On 9 July, IDF bulldozers and tanks entered Block O in Rafah and destroyed 8 houses, under which Palestinians had allegedly dug tunnels to smuggle arms across the border from Egypt. Land destruction also took place in areas around settlements and by-pass roads.
In the northern enclave of Seafa between the settlement of Dugit and Eli Sinai, a gate is opened every day from 6.30 to 8.30am and from 2 to 4pm. The IDF is building a fence around the settlement block on land recently bulldozed and confiscated. Inside this area, 5 Bedouin families have been ordered by the IDF to move their homes 100 metres west of their present location, which they did on 10 July.
Restrictions remain especially tight for the 12,000 residents of the Mawassi area in the southern Gaza Strip with those under 45 years of age forbidden to leave the area, and access denied to certain registered Palestinian residents of the area.
West Bank localities and place code, currently under curfew: starting dates (place code, see www.reliefweb.int/hic-opt/):
21 June +: Jenin town(010180) & camp(010185), Nablus(150920), Askar camp(150930), Balata camp(150960), Beit Furik(151090), Tulkarm town (100645) & camp(100635), Shuweika(), Attil(100480), Zeita(100425), Al-Jarushiya(100545), Deir Al-Ghusun(100530), Qalqiliya(201040) curfew lifted 11 July, Beituniya(301825), Bethlehem(452240), Al-Khadr(452270), Deheisheh(452275), Beit Jala(452210), Aida camp(452185),Huwwara(151185) curfew lifted 11 July,
22 June +: Doha (452265), Beit Sahour (452255).
23 June +: Beit Jibrin camp(452195), Beit Wazan (150875), Hashimiya(010155), Yamoun(010080), Kafr Rumman(100630), Anabta(100665), Zawata(150835), Camp No. 1(150880)
24 June +: Dura(502840), Yatta(503120), Iktaba(100595), Tubas(050610) curfew lifted 11 July, Ramallah(301810), Tayasir(050550), Tammun(050755), Aqaba(050560), Amari camp(301830).
25 June +: Hebron(502780), Arraba(010370), Artas(452300).
27 June +: Anin(010045), Al-Bireh(301790), Halhoul(502630)
01 July +: Baqa e-Sharqiya(100350) curfew lifted 11 July, Salfit(251370), Iskaka(251330), Yasouf(251315)
02 July +: Mazraa Sharqiya(301555) curfew lifted 11 July, Silwad(301610) curfew lifted 11 July
03 July +: Zababdeh(010435) curfew lifted 11 July, Illar(100475) curfew lifted 11 July
04 July +: Arura(301475) curfew lifted 11 July, Beit Rima(), Qaraqat Bani Zeid (301455), Kafr Rai (010465), Rama(010515), Tel(150990)
10 July +: Rummana(010010) curfew lifted 11 July.
11 July +: Qabatiya (010340), Kufr Labad(100690), Jayyus(200985), Habla(201125), Azzun(201100) and Burin(151080)
For an overview of locations under curfew, see oPt-HIC map centre at www.reliefweb.int/hic-opt/
The ICRC this week distributed 450 food parcels and 450 bags of wheat flour in Hebron; 615 food parcels and 615 bags of wheat flour in Salfit; and a total of 1.213 food parcels and 1.213 bags of wheat flour in Jenin.
UNWRA delivered 12 tons of wheat flour to Hebron, 12 tons of rice and 12 tons of lentils to Balata camp, 0.750 tons of wheat flour to Beit Jibrin camp and 13 tons of rice to Nablus. UNWRA also distributed emergency rations and parcels of tinned food to Deheisheh camp. On 10 July, 7 UNWRA trucks were unable to transport food to Hebron because of the curfew..
A Health Sector Working Group took place in Gaza on 10 July. The Ministry of Health (MoH) outlined its new strategy of decentralisation, in response to the curfew regime in the main West Bank cities. WHO made a presentation on the Health Action Response Team (HART) while the EU gave an overview on its health sector review, planned for September.
UNWRA has this week delivered medical supplies to the Tulkarm, Nur Shams and Qalqiliya hospitals. World Vision, in cooperation with the Lutheran World Federation, delivered medical supplies to East Hebron and the west Bethlehem area. PRCS medical consultation and psychological support telephone hotlines continue to receive calls to support the hundreds of families under curfew and unable to reach medical services.
The MoH requested international assistance from HART in the distribution of medicines and consumables from the Ramallah Health Directorate to 6 villages in the Ramallah area. Under the current conditions it is impossible for the MoH to reach these destinations without the assistance of internationals escort service. On 22 July WHO will launch an assessment of maternal health, immunization (brief), mental health and chronic diseases throughout the West Bank.
Meetings next week:
Health Emergency Response Coordination Meeting
Date & Time: 17 July 2002, 10-12:00
Venue: Central Public Health Laboratory, Ramallah City.
Local UN- Coordination Meeting.
Date & time: 16 July 2002, 1400
Venue: UNSCO, Gaza.