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31 October 2005

31-10-2005  Operational update  
ICRC activities in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories: October 2005
The following is an update of activities carried out by the ICRC in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories in October 2005.


Monitoring conditions of detention
Visits to detainees falling under the ICRC mandate are a long-standing priority of the institution in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous territories. ICRC delegates regularly visit Israeli and Palestinian places of detention to monitor treatment and living conditions. The observations and recommendations are submitted confidentially to the authorities in charge.

Detainees visited in Israeli places of detention
In October, ICRC delegates visited 4 interrogation centres and Damoun, Nitzan, Megiddo and Shikma prisons. They also visited Salem, Gush Etzion and Efraim provisional detention centres.

Detainees visited in the Territories

On the Palestinian side in the Gaza strip ICRC delegates visited the Saraya central prison and the interrogation centres of the Preventive Security, the Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat) and the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat). Beit Hanoun police station was also visited.

In the West Bank, ICRC delegates visited Ramallah, Jenin, Jericho, Nablus and Daheriyeh central prisons as well as the interrogation centres of the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) and the Preventive Security in Jericho, Daheriyeh, Bethlehem, Hebron, Nablus. They also visited the police stations in Bethlehem, Tulkarem, Daheriyeh and Qalqilia.

Family visits and messages to detainees

The ICRC's family visit programme allows families from Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to visit relatives held in Israeli places of detention. Facilitating these contacts is of primary importance to the ICRC.

In October, around 2,400 people travelled to 23 Israeli places of detention and visited around 900 relatives held.

Another way of maintaining family links while people are detained is to exchange Red Cross Messages (RCM). In the period mentioned, more than 2,600 messages regarding family news were exchanged through the ICRC between detainees and their relatives.


Latest distributions in the West Bank and Gaza

During the month of October, the ICRC carried out the following relief activities:

House destruction relief programme

7 families whose homes in the Gaza Strip Bethlehem were destroyed received ICRC relief kits.

H2 assistance programme

In the city of Hebron (zone H2 – under Israeli control), the ICRC distributed food parcels to around 2,470 families especially affected by strict closures.

Emergency assistance

More than 560 food parcels were distributed to vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza.

Cooperation with the Palestine Red Crescent Society and Magen David Adom

At the end of October, the PRCS convened a partnership meeting for the development and implementation of PRCS projects. The meeting was attended by the ICRC, the International Federation and representatives of several National Societies worldwide.

Discussions with the MDA are ongoing regarding the organization of a National Disaster Response Training programme in December 2005 for staff and volunteers financially supported by the ICRC.

Raising awareness of the ICRC and international humanitarian law

Promoting respect for the civilian population

It is the responsibility of all those involved in armed conflict to respect International Humanitarian Law (IHL). The ICRC supports their efforts by raising awareness about IHL and about its role and activities.

In October, a presentation on the ICRC and the basic principles of IHL was held for Military Police trainees in the West Bank.

In cooperation with the Hebrew University of Jersualem, the ICRC organized a workshop on "Internment during International Armed Conflict under IHL and International HUman Rights". Academics from various colleges and universities (local and overseas) participated.

On the Palestinian side, the ICRC focussed on preparing events planned for November and December. In addition, sessions on IHL were carried out for prayer leaders, students and members of village councils.

In October, the ICRC closely followed the course of the olive harvest in the West Bank, holding discussions with local communities and the Israeli authorities to facilitate farmers' access to their land.

Overall, the ICRC continued to be preoccupied by the restriction of movement within the West Bank, including East Jerusalem.

In Gaza and the West Bank, ICRC delegates closely followed the escalating violence between the IDF and Palestinian groups.

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