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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
9 December 2003

OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes
Update for oPt (3 – 9 December 2003)
INSIDE: Casualties - Incidents involving ambulances - Curfew - House demolition - Land
levelling/confiscation - Checkpoints/roadblocks/Separation Wall/restrictions on movement - Access to Schools - Labour movement into Israel - Other incidents

1. Casualties

Palestinians: 7 deaths - 18 injured
Israelis: 1 death - 0 injured

2. Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams

Denial of access: 0
Delay (65 min.): 1 incident (Gaza)
Attack/abuse of ambulances and staff:
Damage/Shooting at ambulance:

3. Curfews

Curfews were reported in the following locations: Azzun Atma, Jenin, Jenin camp, Mas-ha and Zawiya (1 day).

4. House demolitions

Demolished: 4
Partially Demolished: 1

• 4 December: Zeif co-educated (mixed) basic school (6-13 years old) in Hebron receives demolition orders from the IDF for three classrooms and adjacent sanitation facilities as they do not have a building permit.

5. Land levelling/confiscation

Gaza: In the last week, the IDF has circulated a requisition order to Palestinian land owners around Morag settlement, announcing a further 46.5 dunums of land will be appropriated.

6. Checkpoints/roadblocks/Separation Wall/restrictions on movement

- Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates:

Last week continued to see a relaxation in the movement of the local population in both Qalqilya and Tulkarem districts at the checkpoints and the major road gates with the exception of the Baqa Ash Sharqiya gate (see below).
Ongoing construction of the Wall between Zeita and Qaffin through Nazlat Isa.

- Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates:
The easing of access to the checkpoints in the Nablus continued as men over 35 years old and all women were allowed to pass since last week. Dirt roads were increasingly difficult to pass due to numerous flying check points on such roads. A new check point/ flying check point continued to be manned most of the day on road 60 at the Yitzhar junction near Huwwara village and near Deir Sharaf junction west of Nablus, also at road 60.
Flying checkpoints were erected at the junction between Qabatiya, Jenin and Birqin during the week.

Ramallah governorate (Ramallah/Al-Bireh/Beituniya):

The earth mounds in Surda were removed by the IDF on Wednesday 3 December. However, Palestinians travelling from the villages north of Surda have experienced flying checkpoints on their route into Ramallah. On the night of 3 December the IDF established a mobile checkpoint outside the Palestinian Youth Organization building denying cars coming from the new open road at Surda entrance to Ramallah.
The construction of the Wall in Ramallah Governorate is continuing in the areas between Budrus and Rantis. Marks on stones for what locals claim are signs for the coming construction of the Wall are observed in Bil’in and Saffa.

Jerusalem/Jericho governorates:

Construction of the Wall is ongoing in different sections in Khallet a Nu’man southern of Jerusalem Ash Sheikh Sa’ad.
The wall construction in the Sur Bahir area has ceased pending a High Court decision in Tel Aviv to decide on the continuation of the wall in East Jerusalem.
The construction in Eizariya in one section south of Zayem Checkpoint and east of Mount olives monasteries is progressing rapidly and will not be disrupted anymore regarding the appeal from the 5 Jerusalemite families that the construction of the wall cuts them off their lands. In this location the concrete wall is 9 metres high.
The construction of the wall in Abu Dees Al Quds University the work is progressing.

Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:
Following the previous week’s assessment of worsening access in the district of Hebron, the current one witnessed a significant improvement in the ability of Palestinians to move. The re-establishment of gates at the Halhul – Sair junction and the opening of route 356 along Wadi Sair will allow inter-district movement on private vehicles without permits. Wadi Sair had been opened once before during the intifada just after the declaration of “hudna” in August, only to be immediately reversed after a few days. Movement of buses transporting Palestinians between districts has continued along toute 60, although the number of permits issued so far (12) has not matched the number requested (33).
Over the last week 6 new permits have been released for the Hebron National Bus company to travel along route 60 from Halhul to Al Khader. This raises the total number of valid permits for buses on that route to 17; more have been requested.
Since the opening of the Wadi Sair road (route 356) traveling times with private vehicles from Bethlehem to Hebron and vice versa have reduced to an average of one hour. Two checkpoints, Noqedim and a flying checkpoint at the end of Wadi Sair monitor Palestinian movement.
3 December: The IDF removes the earth mounds at the Halhul – Sair junction across route 60 and reinstates the gates which to date have remained opened.
3 December: The IDF reopens the Wadi Sair road, the old route 356, allowing Palestinian private vehicles to run to Bethlehem without the need for a permit. The road is monitored by a flying checkpoint at the end of Wadi Sair.
5 December: The IDF allows traders to reopen their shops along Old Shalala street in H2. Most of the shops in this area have been closed by military order since March 2001.The area, adjacent to the Jewish settlement of Beit Hadassah, is now covered by a metal net to separate the Palestinians from the Israeli Jews living on the first floor of the settlement, overlooking the street.

Gaza crossings/checkpoints:
3 December: Two IDF armoured vehicles and a bulldozer blocked the Beach road with a sand barrier for one hour fro no apparent reason.
7 December: The IDF finalized the construction of a new observation tower located 200 metres east of the Beach road, across from Netzarim settlement.

The enclosed areas:
Al Seafa. Movement remains restricted by the IDF with the entry-exit gate opening twice daily for Seafa ID holders from 07.00 to 09.00 and 14.30 to 17.00. Motor vehicles are not allowed to enter, with the exception of international agencies that have undertaken prior coordination with the IDF.
Al Mawasi. IDF imposed restrictions remain, with no passage possible for male Mawasi ID holders aged 15-23 without prior coordination. Youths aged below 15 must be accompanied by a guardian.

7. Access to Schools:
The opening hours of the gate between Ras Atiya and Ras Tira continue to create problems for the children from Ras Tira.
As for the gate in Jbara, the irregular opening hours in the afternoon continue to cause implications for mainly the elementary school children after their classes end around 11:30, who often have to wait uptil one hour before being allowed through.
On 6-7 December, teachers from Tulkarem were not allowed to cross the gate into Baqa Ash Sharqiya. Also in Tulkarem, the closure of the checkpoint on 7 December affected the teachers.
UNRWA reported continuous disruption in teachers’ access to schools in different districts due to closure, curfew and lack of permits.
6 December: Two schools in the area of Dhahiriya, Hebron district, were entered by the IDF. In the first school, Abu Obeida basic boys school, 15 glass panels were smashed by an IDF patrol while in the second school, Al Andalus basic girls school, the IDF threw tear gas canisters and shot rubber bullets.

8. Labour movement into Israel

West Bank:
In Hebron no permits have been released to workers over the reporting period. None have been released since the beginning of August. Numbers of active permits for traders are at 250 (these allow the single person to travel to Israel but not their vehicles)
In Bethlehem 93 permits have been issued to workers for a total of 783 active permits. No new traders’ permits have been released in Bethlehem which at the moment amount to approximately 150 active ones.
8 December: The Bethlehem Labour Office states that all workers with valid permits trying to reach Jerusalem through Gilo and “Tunnels” CPs are prevented to pass.

Over the reporting week, the Israeli authorities have issued 12,351 permits to Palestinian agricultural and construction workers who are married and over 28. A further 1,590 permits were issued for Gaza traders.

Other incidents:

Qalqiliya/Tulkarm governorates:
6 December: Around 23:30, the IDF entered the town of Tulkarem and searched the office of the Governor. No damages have been reported.
7 December: Around 02:00 in the morning, the IDF entered Tulkarem refugee camp and conducted search in one house. No arrests have been reported.
7 December: On villager from Jbara was shot at by the IDF while trying to enter his land on the side of the wall with his sheeps. No injuries were reported.
7 December: Around 18:00, the IDF entered the southern part of Tulkarem town and conducted several house searches. A total of 21 persons were arrested during the operation of which 19 were released soon after.
7 December: Around 12:30, the IDF entered Tulkarem refugee camp. One person was arrested.

Nablus/Jenin/Tubas governorates
Palestinian Police is present in the streets of Nablus but not wearing uniform. This marks the first time that the Palestinian Police is allowed to carry weapons since April 2002.
4 December: Around 20:00 in the evening, the IDF surrounded all the city entrances with tanks and armoured jeeps. The IDF withdrew again one hour later without entering the city.
4 December: Around 03:00 in the early morning, the IDF entered Jenin City and Jenin Camp,
searching several houses until 06:00. No arrests were reported.
8 December: Around 02:00 in the early morning, twenty APCs entered the eastern part of Jenin city arresting Mohamed Taher Sughbi (27 years) and Raja Ghazal (20 years), both members of PFLP. Clashes occurred during the operation, but no injuries were reported. IDF left the city at 07:00.

Ramallah/al Bireh/Beituniya governorates:
6 December: The IDF entered Sharafeh district in Ramallah with five jeeps. No clashes or arrests have been reported.
8 December: The IDF entered Beit Rima village. No clashes or arrests reported.

Hebron/Bethlehem governorates:
3 December: The IDF enters in the evening the Sidr area in Beit Jala in response to a shooting at a military patrol in the area earlier on.
4 December: A search campaign by the IDF in the Old City of Hebron area, H2, results in one arrest.
7 December: Search and arrest by the Israeli Army in Ayda camp, Bethlehem, resulting in the arrest of one person.

Sporadic exchanges of gun fire took place most evenings, particularly in central and southern Gaza.
17 mortars, anti tank missiles and 2 Qassam rocket were fired towards the Israeli settlements of, Neve Dekalim, Dugit, Netzarim, and Gadid. No injuries or damages were reported. Additionally one road side bomb was detonated against an IDF armoured vehicle in Rafah.
4 December: An IDF tank stationed at the newly established observation post close to the Beach road fired three tank shells towards an uninhabited house, northwest of Netzarim settlement. The house sustained partial damage.
5 December: Two armed alleged Hamas activists were killed when they approaching the electronic fence north of Nahal Oz area, east of Gaza City.
9 December: IDF incursion into Rafah with 2 reported injuries.

(Source: OCHA field units, UNRWA, UNSCO, PRCS, MoH, Governors’ office, Israeli MoFA & IDF web sites, Al Mizan, PCHR, Al Mezan Centre for Human Rights)


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