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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
23 October 2003

OCHA Weekly Briefing Notes No. 24, 15 - 21 Oct 2003



25 deaths
94 injured


4 deaths
5 injured


3 deaths (American diplomats)
1 injured (American diplomat)

Incidents involving ambulances and medical teams

Denial of access: 3 incidents
Delay (60 to 300 mins): 8 cases
Attack/abuse of ambulances and staff: 5 incidents
Shooting at ambulance: 3 incident
Detention of ambulance staff: 0

  • 21 October: In the Huwwara check point, at the entrance of Nablus City, a PRCS driver and an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) were severely beaten and detained for one hour and a half.
  • Due to the continued closure of the Kafriat checkpoint in Tulkarem, PRCS is restricted to use the Taybeh checkpoint, which requires special permit to Israel proper. Consequently, the IDF requires that PRCS be military escorted through the checkpoint (Source:, PRCS,)


    The IDF closure of the West Bank continued. Curfews were reported in the following locations: Kafr 'Ein (4 days), Dura al Qar', Silwad, Kafr Malik and 'Ein Yabrud (3 days), Al Mughayyir, At Tayba, Beitin, Rammun and Tulkarm Camp (2 days), Tulkarm, Ramallah, Al Bireh, Bir Zeit, Deir Jarir, Marda, 'Anabta, Kafr al Labad, Kafr ad Dik and Az Zababida and (1 day).

    House demolitions

    Demolished: 16
    Partially demolished: 39

    Completely Demolished
    Partially Demolished
    15 October - 21 OctoberGaza

    Demolition orders


    Land levelling/confiscation

    West Bank

    Land has been confiscated to make space for two military observation towers in the district of Hebron, respectively at the crossings of Halhul-Sair and at Dura-Fawwar, on route 60. In Bethlehem ½ dunum has been confiscated to make space for one military observation tower at the entrance to village Wadi Anis along the Efrata road.

  • 20 October: Bulldozers started to level land, approximately 200 m., between the Armenian monastery and Ayda Camp on the outskirt of Bethlehem at Rachel's Tomb, an area recently requisitioned under a military order issued by the IDF
  • Work is also continuing on the settler bypass road east of An Nu'man where about a kilometer of road is currently being prepared. The road is intended to link the Jewish settlements of Teqoa and Asfar with the municipality of Jerusalem
  • The levelling of land between Zeita and Qaffin through Nazlat Isa is on going for construction of the wall.


    15/10/2003Rafah19 dunumsOlives
    17/10/2003Gaza City (west of Netzarim settlement)20 dunumsCitrus
    18/10/2003Gaza City (west of Netzarim settlement)20 dunums*Citrus
    59 dunums

    Checkpoints/roadblocks/Separation Wall/restrictions on movement

    - Tulkarm/Qalqiliya governorates:

  • 17 October: Residents of the villages located behind the separation wall were informed by the IDF that they no longer would be allowed to enter the checkpoints and/or the gates on the wall unless they obtain special permits.
  • 21 October: IDF announced Qalqilya as a closed military zone resulting in a complete closure of the checkpoint also affecting humanitarian vehicles and people with special permits (e.g. teachers, officials, and medical staff). As of 21 October, the back-to-back system at Taybeh checkpoint in Tulkarem is operational again for all goods, including non-essential supplies. The back-to-back system has over the past 10 days only been operational for food supplies. In Qalqilya, however, only trucks transporting food are allowed to use the back-to-back system.
  • All agricultural gates have remained closed in both districts over the past week. Apart from the closures and the past experience with irregular opening hours, the villages/farmers are struggling with arbitrary procedures imposed by the IDF. The IDF keeps on changing the criteria and procedures, forcing people to constantly apply for new permits to access their land. In addition, only a small number of farmers obtain these permissions.

    Check Point
    KafriatSupported by massive road blocks making it physically impossible to cross in vehicles. Officials and medical staff, however, are allowed to cross the checkpoint by foot
    TaybehOpen for internationals and individuals with special permit only
    Nazlat IsaOpen for internationals and individuals with special permit only

    - Nablus/Jenin governorates:

  • The checkpoints of Hamra and Ma'ale Efrayim were increasingly difficult to enter and the behavior of the soldiers was aggressive towards the UN staff. The deterioration in these checkpoints is making access to the governorates of Tubas and Jenin progressively more difficult to access as the only alternative routes to go through the Shave Shamron checkpoint, the equally Tayasir gate (Tubas) or through Tulkarm, which in addition to being located on the western side of the West Bank, is often closed as a result of the separation wall.
  • The IDF prohibited movement of Palestinian vehicles on Haifa Street and confiscate some 30 cars on the same road


    Check Point
    Southern main entrance
    Generally open only for holders of Nablus ID-cards, students, teachers and medical doctors.
    Beit Iba
    Western entrance, mainly for trade
    Same as above.
    South western entrance, before the closure regime main road to Qalqiliya
    Closed except for villagers from Sarra or Qusin, who occasionally are let through.
    Internal closure between Sarra and Nablus
    Same as above.
    Al Tur
    Southern checkpoint connecting the Samaritan district of Jarzim with Nablus city
    Only open for Samaritans. The gate is occasionally closed for vehicles.
    Beit Furik
    Eastern gate and checkpoint. After the closure regime main gateway between Nablus and the Jordan valley
    Occasionally open for villagers from Beit Furik, Beit Dajjan, Azmout, Deir al Hatab and Salem. Teachers with IDs from Ministry of Education (about 70) are usually let through but with serious delays.
    Shave Shomeron (Sabastia)
    North west, main road to Jenin
    Closed for Palestinians unless they have special permits.
    Maale Efrayim
    South east connecting Jericho and Nablus
    Closed for Palestinians unless they have special permits. The check point is increasingly difficult to enter.
    East, before closure regime main road to Jordan, Tobas, Jenin
    Hamra is generally closed for Palestinians unless having special permits, or coming from these villages: Frush Beit Dajan, Al Jiftlik, Bardala, Kardala, Ein Shibli, Al Nassaria and Al Aqrabania (from which villagers occasionally are let through). The check point is increasingly difficult to enter.
    Zaatara (Tappouah)
    South, main road to Ramallah
    Usually open for Palestinians holding permits. Palestinians from the Governorate of Nablus can enter their villages and Nablus City through the check point, but are not allowed to exit (southwards). Palestinians from areas south of this check point are not allowed to enter northwards.

    Awarta checkpoint: (the main commercial checkpoint in Nablus since July 2003)

    Allowed for foodstuffs only, back to back
    Allowed for foodstuffs only, back to backThe DCL did not respond.
    Allowed for foodstuffs only, back to backEntry permitted for Palestinian registered trucks only
    Allowed for foodstuffs only, back to backEntry permitted for Palestinian registered trucks only
    Open for all goods
    Open for all goods


    Check Point
    Janat "Wadi Balaama"
    Southern entrance to Jenin City
    Open for governmental employees with permits. Closed for all Palestinians since 17. October.
    Haifa Street
    Western entrance to Jenin City
    Open for governmental employees with permits. Closed for all Palestinians since 17. October.
    Al Amn Al Watani
    Northern entrance of Jenin
    Closed for Palestinians unless they have special permits. Closed for all Palestinians since 17. October.
    North western entrance/ "Green Line"
    Closed for Palestinians. "Military closed area".
    Um Ar Rihan
    Western gate on the separation barrier
    Open only for people living in the area behind the barrier. After 17. October residents must obtain special permits to enter/exit.
    Qaddim (Al Suweitat)
    South eastern entrance
    Closed several hours a day.
    *Access to all checkpoints was subjected to major delays. Most checkpoints have been completely closed since 17 October 2003.

    *Al Jalama checkpoint: (the main commercial checkpoint in Jenin)

    Al Jalama
    Northern entrance/ main commercial check point
    Back to back was allowed for foodstuffs only.

    *Only foodstuffs were permitted into Jenin.

    Bethlehem/Hebron governorates:

    The policy of total closure has remained in effect in both Bethlehem and Hebron districts with Palestinians not able to move on roads and increasingly even on foot between villages and major cities. The problem is particularly felt in Bethlehem where the enforcement of the closure is particularly strict and an increased presence of security forces at the edge of the city. Secondary access routes created by pedestrians along the Beit Jala DCO road have now been cordoned off with razor wire; at the Khader junction, on route 60, the heavy presence of security has created huge delays in pedestrian crossings to and from the area of Husan/Battir.

    Gaza crossings/checkpoints

    Check point
    ErezClosed all week to Palestinian labourers
    KarniOpen all week
    SufaClosed all week
    NetzarimClosed all week
    Abu Houli junctionPartially re-opened on 17 October, closed for several hours on 16 & 18 October 2003.
    Abu al Ajin roadClosed
    Beach roadOpen all week

    Access to Schools:

  • Some 50 teachers from Tulkarem have over the past three days been denied access though the gate to Nazlat Isa and Baqa Ash Sharqiya as IDF claimed they did not have a valid permission. According to the Department of Education in Tulkarem, the female teachers have jointly filed a complaint to the department stating that they refuse to attend the schools as long as they are being body searched.
  • UNRWA reported continuous disruption in teachers' access to schools in different districts due to closure and curfew.

    Labor movement into Israel

    West Bank:

    All work permits in Tulkarm, Qalqiliya, and Bethlehem and Hebron governorates are still suspended.


    Erez Industrial Estate

    Other incidents


  • 15 October: 2003, the IDF military operation in Rafah continued for the second consecutive day; dozens of tanks, armoured vehicles and bulldozers moved into Hay As Salam area destroying further homes and leaving an additional 371 Palestinians homeless.
  • 15 October: three Americans were killed and another seriously wounded when an explosion hits a U.S. convoy on Salah Ed Din Street near the Bait Lahia – Bait Hanoun Junction.
  • 18 October: three Palestinians, including a woman, were killed by Israeli tank shellfire in the southern Gaza Strip town of Rafah during a further IDF incursion.
  • 19 October: 8 home made Qassam rockets were launched from Bait Hanoun towards the southern Israeli town of Sederot; no injuries reported.
  • 20 October: F-16 jet bombed a residential building in al-Shijaya neighbourhood in Gaza City. Six Palestinians were injured, including two children, aged two and three.

    Qalqiliya/Tulkarm governorates:
  • 19 October: IDF entered both Nur Shams and Tulkarem refugee camps and threw tear gas in streets while shooting. The operation resulted in the death of a 10-year old boy.

    Nablus/Jenin governorates
  • 16 October: At 1530 one tank and 3 armoured jeeps entered Balata camp area. Two Palestinians were injured during clashes, and the main mosque in the camp was damaged as a result of shooting
  • The water situation in the villages of Azmout, Deir al Hatab and Salem has according EWaSH reached a critical level as settlers are reported to having destroyed parts of the water network.

    Ramallah governorate

    There was an IDF incursion into Ramallah last night which targeted worshippers at a mosque and the Al Jazeera TV station in al Bireh.


    Minor incidents have so far occurred during this years olive harvest.

  • 20 October: Settlers from Alon Moreh Settlement shot at Palestinians from Azmout and Deir al Hatab during olive harvesting. No injures were reported.
  • In one case, near the settlers' outpost of Avigail, in south Hebron between Susya and Ma'hon settlements, settlers stole all the olives and damaged 55 trees

    (Source: OCHA field units, UNRWA, UNSCO, PRCS, MoH, Israeli MoFA & IDF web sites, Al Mizan, PCHR)

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