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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 September 2009



UNITED NATIONS
Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
occupied Palestinian territory

ThEThE hUmTHE HUMANITARIAN MONITOR
September 2009

    ISSUES COVERED THIS MONTH
    West Bank, including East Jerusalem: Clashes in East Jerusalem led to a sharp increase in Palestinian and Israeli injuries • Increase in Palestinian casualties from Israeli settler violence • Humanitarian intervention delayed due to insufficient water at filling points • The olive harvest and access concerns • The majority of Muslim Palestinians in the oPt denied access to Friday Prayers in East Jerusalem • Update on agricultural access in the Biddu area • No demolitions in either Area C or East Jerusalem but worrying legal developments otherwise • New loan program targeting refugee women was launched • Humanitarian Access in the West Bank

    Gaza Strip: Significant increase in Palestinian casualties • Gaza blockade: imported truckloads hit a new low • Concerns about the state of water and sanitation infrastructure and resources • Concerns about the state of water and sanitation infrastructure and resources • Restricted movement in and out of Gaza • INGOs facing constraints in Gaza • New policy prevents Israeli human rights organizations from intervening on behalf of Palestinians

    OPT-wide issues: UN Fact-Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict • Goldstone report highlights vulnerability of children in the oPt • HRF Fund


`UN Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conßict

The report of the United Nations Fact Finding Mission on the Gaza Conflict (Goldstone Report) was presented to the United Nations Human Rights Council at its 12th regular session at Geneva on 29 September. The 575-page report contained a number of specific recommendations, among others, to the Human Rights Council, the Security Council, Israel, Palestinian armed groups and the Palestinian Authority.

The report stated that the fact-finding mission had found evidence that Israel had violated international human rights (IHR) and humanitarian law (IHL) during Operation “Cast Lead”, including acts amounting to war crimes. In addition, the Mission found evidence of a number of apparent violations of IHL and IHR resulting from Israeli measures implemented before “Cast Lead” in the Gaza Strip (e.g. the blockade) and in the West Bank (e.g. movement and access restrictions). The Mission also found that Palestinian armed groups had committed war crimes in the Gaza Strip. Among its recommendations, the Mission called for independent and impartial investigations to be conducted into the conduct of both parties.

On 2 October, however, the Human Rights Council decided to defer voting on the report and the recommendations until its next session, in March 2010. The delay met widespread criticism, including from civil society in the oPt, arguing that the delay was the result of political pressure on Council members, who demonstrated a lack of will to pursue accountability for serious violations of international law. Civil society groups called for members of the Human Rights Council to press all parties to commence credible investigations at once and for the Council to refer the report to the UN Secretary- General without delay.14 On 16 October, the Human Rights Council endorsed the report, and referred it to the UN General Assembly for consideration.

Goldstone report highlights vulnerability of children in the oPt

The Goldstone report emphasizes, among other aspects, the high vulnerability of Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territory.

Approximately one quarter of those killed in the recent Cast Lead operation in Gaza were children. The 1612 monitoring group on grave violations against children has reported approximately 350 Palestinian children killed during Operation Cast Lead. In addition, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza, over 1,800 children were injured, some of them permanently; according to Handicap International, half of those in need of prosthetics are still waiting to receive them. Children remain at risk of death or injury from unexploded ordnance and explosive remnants of war (ERW). Over eight months after its end, the effects of the “Cast Lead” offensive are still immediately visible to child protection agencies: some 20,000 civilians remain displaced; schooling is disrupted as schools have been damaged and destroyed, and reconstruction and recovery are impossible as essential construction materials are prohibited owing to the continued blockade.

The report also drew attention to the rise in children from the West Bank detained by the Israeli authorities during and following Israel’s operation in Gaza. The situation of children in prison was given particular emphasis, with the Mission expressing concern over the practice of detaining children; their conditions of interrogation and detention, including reports of torture and ill treatment, denial of due process; and a pattern of arrest that “appears to aim at exercising control, humiliating, instilling fear, deterring political activity and serving political interests.”15

HRF Fund

InSeptember,twoprojectstotallingUSD 186,404were funded. The Þrst project, designated for Mine Action Group (MAG), aims to reduce the immediate threat to life and limb from Unexploded Ordnance (UXO) and other related hazards to the civilian population of Gaza and emergency workers operating there.

The second project funded through HRF is for the Swedish Cooperative Center, addressing the water scarcity crisis (drought) in the most vulnerable areas in the South of Hebron. This project will assist in providing clean water, decrease water expenditures, and prevent the depletion of income for two months for these poor beneÞciaries. The project aims at sustaining the lives of selected Yatta and Samou area residents, saving these families from the current drought wave affecting the oPt through distribution of life-saving drinking water.

From the beginning of January to the end of September 2009, US$ 5,227,703 has been disbursed to a total of 35 projects in the West Bank and Gaza. Of these, US$ 4,401,565 went to 28 projects in Gaza and US$ 826,138 went to 7 projects in the West Bank. The sector breakdown for this funding is 27% health, 19% food, 13% WASH, 9% Agriculture, 9% Shelter, 8.5% NFI, 6% psychosocial support, 4% protection and 4.5% other. The breakdown for agencies was roughly 43% to National NGOs, 43% to INGOs and 14% to UN agencies.

Endnotes

1. One additional Palestinian died due to injuries sustained on 26 August

2. From January 2005 to June 2009, a monthly average of 98 Palestinians were injured by the Israeli military.

3. Yaakov Katz, “New IDF Unit to Combat Extreme Settlers,” Jerusalem Post, 24 September 2009.

4. For example, the Israeli human rights group Yesh Din’s monitoring of investigations of files on settler attacks, filed primarily in 2005 and 2006, found that more than 90 percent of files are closed by the Israeli police without indictment. A Semblance of Law, Law Enforcement Upon Israeli Citizens in the West Bank, June 2006.

5. Roi Sharon, Document in the Settlements: “Don’t allow Arabs to pick olives”, Maariv newspaper, 27 September 2009, pg. 6.

6. World Bank “Assessment of Restrictions on Palestinian Water Sector Development”, April 2009,

7. See OCHA, West Bank Movement and Access Update, June 2009.

8. For example, 28 percent of the West Bank, mostly in the Jordan Valley and eastern Bethlehem and Hebron governorates, are still designated by the Israeli authorities as either “fire zones” or “nature reserves,” where Palestinian access is severely restricted and any use or development by Palestinians is prohibited.

9. For additional details on the situation at Qalandiya during this year’s Ramadan, see the August issue of the Humanitarian Monitor.

10. Please note that the August Humanitarian Monitor reported in error the demolition of two partially-built cisterns. There were no demolitions in Area C in August.

11. The average number of truckloads from July- September 2009 is 2341 truckloads per month

12. Environmental Assessment of the Gaza Strip – following the escalation of hostilities in December 2008 – January 2009, UNEP, September 2009

13. One additional Palestinian child died as result of an IDF vehicle collision.

14. For responses from civil society, see Amnesty International press release, “UN Must Act Now on Goldstone,” 2 October 2009; Statement from Palestinian human rights NGOs, “ Justice Delayed is Justice Denied,” 3 October 2009; and Human Rights Watch, “UN: US Block on Goldstone Must Not Defer Justice,” 2 October 2009.

15. Para 1535



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