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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 April 2005
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 - APRIL 2005
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.
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
• 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.
• 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).
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
Palestinian ambulance operators reported a total of at least 18 access incidents in April 2005 (compared to 23 in March 2005), in which the provision of first aid and/or medical
evacuations were delayed, obstructed and/or prevented by the IDF. This month’s figures are significantly lower than the figures recorded in April 2004, 52. However, there are still incidents in which delays are detrimentally affecting the pregnant and elderly.
Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory face difficulties accessing safe water. In addition, the effect of closure measures, including checkpoints, earth mounds and curfews had a severe effect on water transport (due to a blocked location) for at least four Palestinian communities; 14 other communities were affected to a lesser degree (delays between one and six hours by water tankers were experienced): Khirbet Yarza, Tubas; and 13 communities in Nablus.
Facilitation for International Humanitarian Organisations
In April 2005, international relief agencies filed at least 113 reports (compared to 62 in March 2005) in which the delivery of aid and/or the movement of personnel were obstructed by the IDF or Israeli Border Police. Most incidents reported included delays and disrespect by the IDF of international humanitarian organisations’ mandates, privileges and immunities. The 114 figure is the highest number of incidents recorded in almost a year.
The number of access problems at fixed and mobile checkpoints, predominantly those located at the entrances to Jerusalem and at the gates in the Barrier increased significantly.
The total number of containers entering the Gaza Strip at Karni in April 2005 was 5,994; the total number of containers exiting the Gaza Strip was 916. These numbers are the similar to the figures recorded in March 2005: 5,340 imports and 957 exports. April 2005 import figures are higher than those recorded in April 2004, but exports are lower.
The average daily crossings from the Gaza Strip into Israel (accounting for the days entrance could have been permitted and excluding weekends days: Friday and Saturday) of the first four months of 2005 is as follows: January: 49 workers, 17 traders, nine Erez industrial estate; February: 390 workers, 70 traders, 278 Erez industrial estate; March: 1,451 workers, 158 traders, 537 Erez industrial estate; April: 3,200 workers, 224 traders, 487 Erez industrial estate.
Gaza Strip fishermen are consistently prevented from fishing up to the 12 nautical mile limit, as was agreed by the Israeli government.