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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 December 2003
OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS
P.O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem
Phone: (972) 2 – 5829962 / 5825853, Fax: (972) 2 – 5825841
HUMANITARIAN MONITORING REPORT - December 2003
The Humanitarian Monitoring Report is produced monthly by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). It draws on information from the Access, Closure and Information System (ACIS), among other data sources that humanitarian agencies have submitted to OCHA. The report is provided to the Task Force on Project Implementation (TFPI) as a basis for discussions with the Government of Israel. It is available on the website (www.reliefweb.int/hic-opt).
The report monitors the humanitarian commitments made by the Government of Israel (GOI) to the Bertini mission in August 2002. The UN Secretary-General appointed Ms. Catherine Bertini as his Personal Humanitarian Envoy to address the humanitarian needs arising from the ongoing Israeli-Palestinian conflict since September 2000. Ms. Bertini was requested to assess the nature and scale of the humanitarian needs, and to clarify the respective responsibilities of all actors with regard to humanitarian needs.
Her visit to the region from August 12-19 2002, concluded that there were serious humanitarian problems linked to the ongoing conflict and specifically to the measures implemented by the GoI to safeguard its citizens from Palestinian attacks.
These security measures, including curfews, closures and roadblocks, led to a crisis of access and mobility, instigating a drastic decline in the Palestinian economy. A large part of the Palestinian population has difficulty accessing basic services such as health and education. Similarly, humanitarian service providers such as UN agencies, NGOs and Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Palestinian Ministry of Health ambulances have experienced providing assistance and services to beneficiaries.
1.1 Ambulances will wait no more than 30 minutes at checkpoints
1.2 Mechanisms will be set in place to ensure patients seeking critical medical services eg. delivery, dialysis, chemotherapy can quickly pass all checkpoints
2.1 Problems relating to water deliveries in Palestinian towns and villages will be addressed to ensure daily provision of adequate volume can be supplied by Palestinian water tankers
3.1 GoI will fully facilitate the activities of international organizations with particular reference to UNRWA
3.2 GoI agreed to review and strengthen the liaison arrangements between international agencies and the IDF
On previous occasions, the GoI has made the following commitments, which were confirmed to the mission:
The fishing zone for Palestinian boats off the Gaza coast will be extended to 12 nautical miles
Enabling olive farmers access to their fields
Increase in shipments at Karni crossing
Increase in the number of permits for Palestinian workers in Israel.
The Bertini Commitments represent a minimum and specific set of humanitarian standards agreed to by the GoI. The Bertini Commitments are not a substitute for compliance with International Humanitarian Law as laid down in the Fourth Geneva Convention.The maximum waiting period of 30 minutes for an ambulance at a checkpoint, while an improvement on the situation in August 2002, for example, falls short of the intent of provisions of International Humanitarian Law.