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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 May 2005


UNITED NATIONS

OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS

P.O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem
Phone: (972) 2 – 5829962 / 5825853, Fax: (972) 2 – 5825841
ochaopt@un.org, www.ochaopt.org


HUMANITARIAN MONITORING REPORT - MAY 2005
BERTINI COMMITMENTS


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) and 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.ochaopt.org.

Context

UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan 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 involved.

This report monitors the humanitarian commitments made by the government of Israel to Ms Bertini during a mission to the region from 12 to 19 August 2002. It concluded that there were serious humanitarian problems linked to the ongoing conflict and, specifically, to the measures implemented by the government of Israel 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. Humanitarian service providers, such as UN agencies, NGOs, the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) ambulances, have experienced problems providing assistance and services to beneficiaries.

Commitments made by Israel
Health
• Ambulances will wait no more than 30 minutes at checkpoints.
• Mechanisms will be set in place to ensure patients, seeking critical medical services (child delivery, dialysis, chemotherapy), can pass all checkpoints quickly.
Water
• Problems relating to water deliveries in Palestinian towns and villages will be addressed to ensure that daily provision of adequate amounts of water can be
supplied by Palestinian water tankers.
Facilitation for International Humanitarian Organisations
• The government of Israel will fully facilitate the activities of international organisations, with particular reference to UNRWA.
• The government of Israel agreed to review and strengthen the liaison arrangements between international agencies and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
Additional Commitments
On previous occasions, the government of Israel 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
• Olive farmers will be allowed access to their fields
• Increased shipments will be allowed at Karni crossing in the Gaza Strip
• The number of permits for Palestinian workers in Israel will be increased

Executive Summary

Health
Palestinian ambulance operators reported a total of at least 14 access incidents in May 2005 (compared to 18 in April 2005), in which the provision of first aid and/or medical evacuations were delayed, obstructed and/or prevented by the IDF. The number of incidents reported in May 2005 is the lowest in more than a year and far lower than the 93 reports received in May 2004.

Water
Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory face difficulties accessing safe water. The effect of closure measures, including checkpoints, earth mounds and curfews continue to have a severe effect on water transport; closures often result in the inability of water tankers to reach their destination.

Facilitation for International Humanitarian Organisations
In May 2005, international relief agencies filed at least 68 reports (compared to 113 in April 2005) in which the delivery of aid and/or the movement of personnel were obstructed by the IDF or Israeli Border Police. Many access problems occurred at fixed and mobile checkpoints, predominantly those located at the entrances to Jerusalem, and at the gates in the Barrier. In May 2004, one year ago, 151 incidents were reported.

Additional commitments
The total number of containers entering the Gaza Strip at Karni in May 2005 was 6,769; the total number of containers exiting the Gaza Strip was 1,107. These numbers are the highest recorded in 2005; and significantly higher than the figures recorded a year ago in May 2004: 1,626 imports, 239 exports.

Gaza Strip fishermen are consistently denied the right to fish up to the 12 nautical mile limit, as was agreed by the Israeli government.

In the Gaza Strip, the average daily crossings in May 2005 for Palestinian workers, traders and those entering Erez industrial estate were significantly lower than those report in April 2005. The numbers are as follows: May: 2,067 workers, 103 traders, 259 Erez industrial estate; April: 3,200 workers, 224 traders, 487 Erez industrial estate.













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