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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 April 2005


HUMANITARIAN UPDATE - APRIL 2005


I. Special Focus: Northern West Bank Disengagement: Impact on Jenin Governorate
II. Humanitarian Reports - OCHA: West Bank Closure and Access
III. Humanitarian Assistance to the oPt - European Commission € 63.67 million to UNRWA; A kindergarten for Tal El Sultan and a youth club for Buriej refugee camp; An expanded school for Frush Beit Dajan; New sports/cultural centre opens in Palestinian village; USAID: Turning on the water taps in Anza
IV. Events affecting the humanitarian situation - OCHA: Gaza Strip access
V. Humanitarian monitoring issues - Casualties; Access; Curfews; Demolitions; Land Levelling

I. Special Focus
Jenin: Economic context and the potential impact of Disengagement
(please see map, page6)

The northern West Bank, and Jenin Governorate in particular, faces the highest poverty and unemployment rates in the West Bank (Figures 1 and 3). The governorate was highly dependant on Israel because much of it borders Israel, had strong connections with nearby Palestinian-Israeli communities and had little local manufacturing to absorb workers. With the intensification of Israeli closure measures after that time and the construction of the Barrier, which began in 2002, the connections between Jenin Governorate and vital Israeli goods and labour markets have been severed.


Figure 1:
West Bank poverty rates according to monthly household consumption patterns


Since mid-2003, closures have eased within the northern West Bank, resulting in freer movement within this region. In the coming months, the Israeli government is also planning to withdraw approximately 654 settlers from four northern West Bank settlements. However, livelihoods are likely to continue to consist of short-term survival strategies, including subsistence agriculture and small-scale informal activity, unless access to Israeli goods and labour markets is improved and targeted economic support is provided to the governorate.


Figure 2:
Percentage of all employed Palestinians working in Israel
(Jenin Governorate compared with the West Bank)


Since 2000 the governorate faced a sharp fall in employment in Israel (Figure 2) and the highest unemployment rates of all West Bank governorates. In 2003, Jenin’s unemployment rate stood at 36%, rising by 23% on the 1999 level of 13% (Figure 3).


Figure 3: Unemployment rates by West Bank governorates (1999, 2003)


Having lost jobs in Israel, Jenin residents have turned to agriculture. In rural Jenin, for example, employment in construction in Israel fell from 27% of total employment in 1999 to just 3% in 2003. At the same time, employment in local agriculture increased from 15% of total employment in 1999 to 45% in 2003.1

Agricultural work consists mainly of livestock rearing. Investment in livestock in Jenin Governorate increased by 76% between 2000 and 2003 (Figure 4).2 This work is mostly family labour and self-employment, with lower remuneration than waged labour.

Jenin workers have moved to Ramallah in larger numbers where the daily wage has remained relatively stable compared with the slump in wages in the northern West Bank (Figure 4).


Figure 4:
Average daily wage (USD) in the north and central West Bank



Quartet appoints Disengagement Envoy
On 14 April, the Quartet appointed James Wolfensohn, outgoing World Bank president, as special envoy to help coordinate Israel’s disengagement from the Gaza Strip and the West Bank settlements. Wolfensohn will focus his efforts on two areas: Palestinian-Israeli coordination concerning the non-military aspects of the withdrawal; and the revival of the Palestinian economy in the wake of the withdrawal. Wolfensohn will serve as envoy on behalf of all the members of the Quartet, which includes the European Union, the Russian Federation, the United Nations and the United States. The Quartet has said that the future Palestinian state must be economically viable and geographically contiguous.

II. Humanitarian Reports
OCHA: West Bank Closure and Access
As of April 2005, 605 closure barriers were recorded in the West Bank, according to an OCHA report “West Bank Closure and Access”. The 605 figure indicates a net decline of 75 closure barriers or 11% reduction in the total. The types of barriers include full-time and partially manned checkpoints, roadblocks (consisting of rows of 1-metre concrete blocks), metal gates, earth mounds, earth walls (a long series of earth mounds) and trenches.

The bulk of the 75 net decrease occurred in selected areas: 34 were removed from the Bethlehem Governorate, 16 barriers from the Hebron Governorate and 12 from the Jenin Governorate; and most of the closure barriers removed were earth mounds. Movement in the northern West Bank has continued to improve, but there are access concerns in other areas. For example, Barrier construction around Jerusalem is ongoing along the projected route and Palestinian movement is also becoming increasingly problematic due to construction and flying checkpoints in the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality boundary areas. For more information, please see: [http://www.ochaopt.org]

III. Humanitarian assistance to the oPt
European Commission to offer € 63.67 million to UNRWA
The European Commission plans to support the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) with a total amount of € 63.67 million in an annual contribution. This financial support is part of the four years international convention 2002 to 2005 between the European Community and UNRWA regarding assistance to refuges in the Middle East countries. The overall objective of this funding agreement is to provide support to the education, health, relief and social services programmes of UNRWA.

Also this month, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan named Karen Koning AbuZayd as acting commissioner-general of UNRWA. AbuZayd will hold the post until a successor to Peter Hansen is appointed. For more information, please see: [http://www.un.org/unrwa/]

A kindergarten for Tal El Sultan and a youth club for Buriej refugee camp
A new kindergarten for Tal El Sultan and a youth activity club for the Buriej Refugee Camp officially opened their doors in April. The kindergarten is the first and only kindergarten facility in the area, and the youth activity club will bring a much needed facility to the 40,000 residents of Buriej. Buriej is one of the Gaza Strip’s poorest refugee camps. The youth center will serve an average of 500 children, both boys and girls, each day.

Both projects were implemented by Catholic Relief Services (CRS) for the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). The kindergarten construction project generated 435 person-days of employment and the youth club generated another 442 person-days of employment. For
more information, please see: [http://www.usaid.gov]

An expanded school for Frush Beit Dajan
A wing was added to the local primary school in Frush Beit Dajab, the West Bank, expanding the facility's capacity by three grades and allowing older students to study in their own neighborhood. The new wing of the Frush Beit Dajan Co-Ed School includes four classrooms and a teachers' room. The school used to accommodate students only up to the sixth grade – forcing older children to travel 17 kilometres to schools in Jiftlek or Nassarieh. Americans contributed $88,000 to the project through USAID. The Frush Beit Dajan Village Council gave another $7,000. For more information, please see: [http://www.usaid.gov]

New sports/cultural centre opens in Palestinian village
A new sports/cultural centre that will work to develop the skills of the 1,200 citizens of Ain Arik, a small village west of Ramallah, opened in April. It is planned that the centre, managed by Caritas Jerusalem in coordination with a consultative committee from Ain Arik, will begin providing computer training, English language and community development training and a full program of sports related activities.

USAID: Turning on the water taps in Anza
On 13 April, Palestinian officials opened an American-funded, 500 cubic metre reservoir with the plans that it will triple the amount of clean, safe water available to families in Anza village south of Jenin. Because the village had no water reservoir for storage, Anza's 2,150 residents had access to only 20 litres of water per person, per day for domestic consumption. The new reservoir is planned to provide each resident with at least 60 litres of water a day - not ideal but a major improvement. The World Health Organization's benchmark is 100 litres of water per person per day.

The project was implemented for USAID by the CARE International Village Services Program and by Rafeed, a humanitarian program that addresses emergency needs in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. For more information, please see: [http://www.usaid.gov]


IV. Events affecting the humanitarian situation
OCHA: Gaza Strip access3
During March and the first half of April movement in and out of the Gaza Strip steadily improved. However, the situation deteriorated during the latter part of April following restrictions on Palestinian movement through Erez and periodic closings of Abu Houli junction. Access problems remain with the internal Gaza Strip enclaves, most notably Al Mawasi and As Siafa while a fourth enclave has now been created at Abu Nahiya. For more information, please see: Gaza Strip Access Reports at [http:// www.ochaopt.org]


V. Humanitarian monitoring issues
Casualties – Between 30 March and 3 May, eight Palestinians were killed, and at least 183 were injured. Two Israelis were killed and 19 were injured in the same period. There has been a continuation in decrease of deaths, however, the number of Palestinian injuries have increased. Three internationals were also reported injured.


Figure 5: Number of Palestinians and Israelis Killed and Injured November 2004 through
April 2005




Incidents involving ambulances/medical teams – There were three incidents of an ambulance or medical team being denied access, and 12 reported incidents of delays. There was one incident where shooting/damage to a vehicle was reported. Included in the incidents above on 12 April, a Palestinian male died inside a Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) ambulance at Beit Iba checkpoint, Qalqiliya, after a 20-minute delay. PRCS medics tried to revive the man, who was being transported to a hospital in Nablus, but were unsuccessful.

Curfews – There were at least 11 incidents of curfew reported. Huwwara village, Nablus was under curfew for six days during the reporting period.

Demolitions/people displaced – At least 24 structures were demolished in the oPt in this reporting period, affecting 134 people. In addition, 92 housing demolition orders were issued, which could affect as many as 900 Palestinians. Demolition orders were also ordered for 10 water cisterns and six sanitation facilities. Nine evacuation orders were also received.

Land levelling and requisitions – Requisition orders for at least 2,450.4 dunums (245 hectares) were issued or received; and 9 dunums (0.9 hectares) were confiscated. At least 30 dunums (3 hectares) of land were reported levelled. There were additional reports of land levelling, mostly for Barrier construction and new tunnels and roads, where it was not possible to estimate the amount of land involved. At least 610 trees were also reported uprooted. For more details, please see Humanitarian Briefing Notes at: [http://www.reliefweb.int/hic-opt/]




Notes

1 PCBS unpublished labour force data, Q4, 1999 and Q4, 2003.
2 There was a corresponding increase in the production of milk by 75% and meat (excluding poultry) by 38% in the same period (PCBS unpublished data).
3 Israel made humanitarian commitments to Catherine Bertini, UN Secretary-General Kofi Annan’s personal humanitarian envoy, during a mission to the region in August 2002. These include, among other concerns, facilitation for health and humanitarian workers, increased shipments at Karni crossing, increased permits for Palestinian workers in Israel. Please also see section V below.



This update will be produced regularly by OCHA oPt to highlight the main events and trends of humanitarian developments in the territory. OCHA invites UN agencies, international organisations, NGOs and donors to submit contributions for future issues. An Arabic version will be made available on the OCHA website: [http://www.ochaopt.org/]


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