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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
31 March 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 - MARCH 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 23 access incidents in March 2005 (compared to 15 in February 2005), in which the provision of first aid and/or medical evacuations were delayed, obstructed and/or prevented by the IDF. The incidents reported are lower than the 38 reported incidents a year ago in March 2004.

Water
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 two Palestinian communities.

Facilitation for International Humanitarian Organisations
In March 2005, international relief agencies filed at least 62 reports (compared to 36 in February 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 number of incidents reported is the highest since October 2004 (73 reports), but significantly lower than March 2004, when 166 incidents were reported.

The majority of access problems in March 2005 occurred at the Tunnels, Khamra, Hizma and Gilo checkpoints and at Bartaa gate in the Barrier.

Additional commitments
The total number of containers entering the Gaza Strip at Karni in March 2005 was 5,340; the total number of containers exiting the Gaza Strip was 957. These numbers are the highest recorded in 2005.

The total number of Gaza Strip workers entering Israel in March 2005 was 37,286. According to UNRWA, 12,936 entered Erez industrial estate. The total number of traders entering Israel was 4,055. These figures are significantly higher than the figures reported during January and February 2005.

Gaza Strip fishermen are consistently denied the right to fish up to the 12 nautical mile limit, as was agreed by the Israeli government.


















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