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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 January 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 - JANUARY 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.reliefweb.int/hic-opt.

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
Water
Facilitation for International Humanitarian Organisations
Additional Commitments
On previous occasions, the government of Israel has made the following commitments, which were confirmed to the mission:
Executive Summary

Health
Palestinian ambulance operators reported a total of at least 15 access incidents in January 2005 (compared to 25 in December), in which the provision of first aid and/or medical evacuations were delayed, obstructed and/or prevented by the IDF. The number of incidents in January 2005 is the lowest reported in more than a year; and approximately one third of the incidents reported in January 2004, which was 42. However, there was still a report of a woman in labour being denied access at a checkpoint; she delivered her baby in a PRCS ambulance.

Also, beginning 14 January 2005, Palestinian patients where not permitted through Erez crossing in the Gaza Strip for further treatment in Israel or the West Bank – a few exceptions were made for severe cases.

Water
The effect of closure measures, including checkpoints, earth mounds and curfews, had an effect on water transport (due to blocked locations or delays) for West Bank communities. Palestinians continue to face difficulties accessing safe water.

Facilitation for International Humanitarian Organisations
In January 2005, international relief agencies filed at least 50 reports (compared to 49 in December 2004) 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.

UN staff members continued to report incidents where IDF soldiers at checkpoints refused to accept the validity of UN identity cards, asking for a second form of identification.

Additional commitments
Following a series of attacks by Palestinian militants at the Rafah and Karni crossing points that killed Israelis, the Israeli authorities closed the two terminals for most of the month of January 2005. The humanitarian and economic impact of the closures of Rafah and Karni crossing points was significant.
The total number of containers entering the Gaza Strip at Karni in January 2005 was 2,919; the total number of containers exiting the Gaza Strip was 545. The import figures reported in January 2005 are among the lowest reported in a year and are less than half of the imports reported in January 2004: 6,826. The export figures are also among the lowest reported in a year and less than a third of the exports reported in January 2004: 1,830. The movement of Gaza Strip fishermen remained subject to strict restrictions.
























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