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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 November 2010




The Humanitarian Monitor
November 2010

مراقب الشؤون الإنسانية
تشرين الثاني/نوفمبر 2010



ISSUES COVERED THIS MONTH
West Bank: Decrease in casualties and settler-related violence • Significant increase in child arrests in Silwan of East Jerusalem • Rise in demolitions and displacement • Enclosed by the Wall: Al Walaja • Israeli authorities announced an easing of access restrictions; removals and addition of new obstacles recorded
Gaza Strip: Israeli air strikes and access restrictions result in three deaths and 26 injuries • Impact of easing of the Gaza access regime continues to be limited • Significant reduction in volume of wheat imports • Limited shipments of exports leave Gaza • Medical referrals update • FAO response to the Tuta Absoluta outbreak
Issues across the oPt: Anniversary of the Convention on the Rights of the Child • Consolidated Appeals (CAP), 2010 update • Launch of CAP 2011


November Overview

November marked the 21st anniversary of the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC). The convention was later ratified by Israel, which bears primary responsibility for its implementation in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Yet, almost two decades after the ratification of the CRC, Palestinian children in the oPt continue to face serious gaps in the exercise of their basic rights.

This month, Palestinian children in East Jerusalem bore the brunt of violence; over two-thirds of all injuries by Israeli forces in the city were under the age of 18. This took place alongside a significant decline in the overall number of Palestinian injuries throughout the West Bank (46) compared to the 2010 monthly average (113). In the Gaza Strip, Israeli air strikes and targeting of people near the perimeter fence with ‘warning fire’ resulted in the injury of 26 civilians, including five children. Of particular concern, since the beginning of 2010, the number of child injuries by Israeli forces in Gaza has increased by 160 percent in comparison to the equivalent period in 2009 (excluding the period of the “Cast Lead” offensive). The majority of children were injured in access restricted areas while collecting rubble to use as building material, as the blockade has prevented the entry of these items in any significant volume.

Additionally, human rights groups have reported a sharp increase in Palestinian children arrested by the Israeli authorities in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem, with children reporting being taken from their homes during nighttime raids and mistreated during interrogation. This month, 60 prominent Israeli educators, doctors, writers, judges, social workers and legislators issued a letter to the Israeli Prime Minister and other political leaders with concerns regarding the ill-treatment of Palestinian children while in custody of Israeli police. As of the end of October, some 256 Palestinian children were being held in Israeli prisons and detention centres.

Forced displacement and the lack of adequate shelter throughout the oPt remain of serious concern for the humanitarian community, in large part due to their significant impact on the development of children. In November, more structures were demolished in East Jerusalem (17) than in any other month this year. Overall, in East Jerusalem and Area C, a three-month upward trend in demolitions continued: the Israeli authorities demolished a total of 34 structures, up from 25 in October and eight in September. As a result, 53 Palestinians were displaced, including 33 children. In the Gaza Strip, over 86,000 housing units are still needed to meet the gap generated due to increased natural growth; the restrictions on the entry of basic construction materials, ongoing since the imposition of the blockade in June 2007. This has resulted in increasing overcrowding and deteriorated living conditions for tens of thousands of families.

In November, the first exports of strawberries and cut flowers (four truckloads) since April 2010 left Gaza. Also, in early December the Israeli government announced that it will allow the export and trade of agricultural products, furniture and textiles from the Gaza Strip to the West bank and foreign markets. These are welcome developments and, if comprehensively and faithfully implemented, will help to improve the level of income among those employed by the relevant industry. Nevertheless, additional steps are needed to more broadly reactivate Gaza’s crippled economy and restore livelihoods to those who, following the imposition of the blockade, joined the ranks of the unemployed and poor. Such steps must include the lifting of the internal access restrictions on land and sea and the removal of restrictions on the import of building materials. Thirty-five percent of Gaza’s agricultural land is currently located in an access-restricted area; the ability to export will mean little for many agricultural producers who are currently unable to safely reach their land. It is estimated that the loss of revenue from this area is $50 million. Similarly, only through lifting the restrictions on building materials can the reconstruction activities vital to re-activating the Gaza economy take place.

Along with the easing of restrictions on the movement of goods to and from Gaza, the movement of persons through the crossings with Israel remains highly restricted; this month, a 24-year-old patient died from kidney failure while waiting for a permit from the Israeli authorities to exit the Gaza Strip for medical treatment

In many areas of the West Bank, internal access restrictions continue to undermine Palestinians’ freedom of movement. This situation is particularly acute in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron (H2); a joint survey carried out by OCHA and the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) indicated that there are 122 closures blocking movement into and within this area. These closures, along with ongoing settler violence, have affected both commercial activities and social life inside the Old City of Hebron; as of 2010, nearly 650 Palestinian shops in the heart of the city have been closed by either the issuance or renewal of military orders and more than 1,000 homes are estimated to have been vacated.

In order to address the needs of the most vulnerable and ensure greater respect for human rights, including the rights of Palestinian children, the Consolidated Appeals Process (CAP) for the oPt was launched this month with a total of USD 575 million in requested funds. The strategy and projects presented in the 2011 CAP address only a portion of the existing needs in the oPt; many needs require recovery and longer-term solutions within the framework of Palestinian national plans and other strategies, and many more require a resolution of the underlying political conflict.

West Bank

Decrease in casualties and settler-related violence
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Tensions in East Jerusalem remain elevated
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The general level of violence in the West Bank decreased significantly in November in comparison with the previous two months, and was 46 percent less than the monthly average (113) of Palestinian injuries during 2010. Sixty-one Palestinians (including 24 children), three members of Israeli security forces, and four Israeli settlers were injured due to Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

However, tensions in East Jerusalem remained high, and accounted for roughly half of the Palestinians injured this month (32), more than two-thirds of whom were children (24 children). Most of those injured (28) were in clashes that took place on 9 and 30 November in the neighborhood of Al ‘Isawiya. On 9 November, the Israeli Police conducted an operation in Al ‘Isawiya; reportedly targeting residents who refuse to pay taxes. Confrontations in the area also took place on 30 November during the course of demolitions carried out by the Jerusalem municipality in the village. (See also demolitions section herein.) In addition, 18 Palestinians and one member of the Israeli security forces1 were injured during weekly demonstrations that took place in the Ramallah governorate against the expansion of the Hallamish settlement (on An Nabi Saleh village lands) and the construction of the Barrier in Ni’lin village.

This month, two reported Israeli-settler related incidents resulted in three Palestinian casualties, and eleven incidents resulted in damage to Palestinian property, roughly half of the monthly average for the rest of 2010. Meanwhile, the number of incidents leading to property damage perpetrated by Palestinians against Israeli settlers has increased in comparison to previous months: there were 15 incidents resulting in property damage, and two leading to injuries. These were approximately double the monthly average for the rest of 2010 (17 incidents vs. nine incidents on average per month). The highest levels of settler violence in 2010 occurred early in the olive harvest season (October), when more than 3,700 olive trees were burned, uprooted, or otherwise vandalized.


ORGANIZATIONS PROVIDING PROTECTIVE PRESENCE IN THE OPT
There are a number of organizations working to provide a protective monitoring presence in high-risk areas throughout the West Bank. These organizations include the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI), Christian Peacemakers Team (CPT), International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS), and Operation Dove.

Protective accompaniment is built on the idea that an unarmed, non-partisan civilian presence that witnesses, monitors and reports on human rights violations can deter perpetrators from carrying out such acts. Protective accompaniers work on many levels, from visible presence with communities suffering from human rights abuses, to advocacy with the media, governments, consular officials, and through communication with those committing abuses themselves. It is important that perpetrators are aware of the role of accompaniers and that information on specific acts they witness will be disseminated widely.

Staff members and volunteers with protective presence organizations monitor checkpoints and agricultural gates to help ensure access and freedom of movement for Palestinians, and are often present during home demolitions by the Israeli authorities. They build strong links with Israeli peace groups and raise awareness overseas of protection issues confronting Palestinian civilians.




Significant increase in child arrests in
Silwan of East Jerusalem
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Allegations of abuse by Israeli police during
arrest and interrogation
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Human rights groups are reporting a sharp increase in the numbers of children arrested by the Israeli authorities in the Silwan area of East Jerusalem. Since October 2010 alone, child rights organization Defense for Children International – Palestine Section (DCI-Pal) has documented the cases of 23 boys from Silwan, who reported being mistreated while in the custody of Israeli authorities.

In November, a group of 60 prominent Israeli educators, doctors, writers, judges, social workers and legislators addressed the issue with a letter to the Israeli Prime Minster, the Israeli President, and the Attorney General, as well as other political leaders. They called into question the legality of the current police procedures in Silwan, and voiced concerns about the reported mistreatment of children held in Israeli custody and the use of harsh interrogation techniques during police questioning. According to these professionals, the Israeli authorities are failing to abide by measures included in Israeli law that are specifically designed to protect children in conflict with the law. As a result, there are concerns that reported mistreatment may have a severe psychological impact on the children and can result in nightmares, insomnia, bed-wetting. Additionally, it may prove detrimental to their development and lead to future violent behavior patterns as the children reach adulthood.




According to DCI-PS, the Israeli police report opening criminal cases against some 1,200 Palestinian children this year, allegedly for throwing stones in East Jerusalem. Arrests of children in Silwan are occurring in the context of ongoing Israeli settlement expansion and the high risk of displacement of hundreds of its Palestinian residents, due to the Jerusalem municipality’s plans to demolish existing homes to make way for a ‘biblical park’.2 Tensions in the neighborhood have
steadily increased over the past year, and intensified in recent months, following the 22 September killing of a Palestinian by an Israeli settlement security guard. Since then, the neighborhood has witnessed a significant increase in the number of children arrested for alleged stone throwing.


TESTIMONIES OF CHILDREN ARRESTED IN SILWAN; GIVEN TO OCHA, 1 DECEMBER, 2010
I.M., age: 8

“Early in the morning (6 am), we heard a heavy knock at the door. When we opened the door, Israeli forces came in and took me from my bed, saying that I had been throwing stones. I don’t know exactly how many they were, but it seemed that there were many of them…maybe six jeeps. They wore masks.

I went alone with them. They would not let my mother come with me; she and my uncle followed after us in a separate car. When we arrived, they took me to Room #4; my mother was with me. They asked me if I had thrown stones that day-- I said no. Then they asked if my father is a member of Hamas, I said no. Afterwards, they let me go home. Earlier that day I had been walking with a group of kids and some of them did throw stones. My photo was taken, but even though I was with the other kids, I didn’t throw any stones.”

A.S., age: 13

“At 4 am, we heard a loud knock at the door. We didn’t think they were coming to arrest anyone, we thought they were coming to demolish our house, as we have a pending demolition order. My father called out, asking who it was. The soldiers identified themselves and said they were coming to arrest ‘Hamada’. Without opening the door, my father replied, that they had the wrong house; there was no Hamada here. They told him to open the door, and also told him name his sons…and if he didn’t do it, they would throw tear gas into the house. My father began naming us one by one, and when he came to my name, the soldiers told him to stop. They said that I had been throwing stones, and they wanted to take me away.

I don’t know exactly how many there were, but there must have been at least six jeeps, maybe eight…and it seemed like there were hundreds of them: police, undercover police and Special Forces. They came in and I was pulled from my bed, they didn’t even let me put my clothes or shoes on…they cuffed my hands, and took me away barefoot, wearing only pajamas. Altogether, we were six kids arrested that morning. They did not let my parents ride with me; by father followed after us.

When we got to the police station, they took me to Room #4 and someone questioned me…he wanted me to admit that I had thrown stones that day. At first, I wouldn’t admit to anything. Whenever I looked away, he slapped me. He kept asking me, and I kept denying. He kept blowing cigarette smoke into my eyes. He grabbed my shoulder and squeezed hard, then threw me hard against a wall; my nose began to bleed. I asked for tissue paper to wipe my nose, but he didn’t give me any. Afterwards, someone else did. Then he told me to kneel down; I replied that I only kneel to The Creator. He kicked my right inner thigh.

As I sat there, they toasted bread and cheese. They asked if I was hungry, and threw some of the hot cheese on my arm. All along they told me that I had only to admit that I had thrown stones, and they would let me go. In the end I just wanted to go home, so I admitted to throwing only one stone. “One stone, or more?” they asked, I replied, “no only one stone.” They asked again, “not even a second stone?” I insisted that it was only one stone. They wanted to know if others had thrown stones with me; I told them I was alone. Finally they took my fingerprints and had me sign some papers—I don’t know what was written there as they were in Hebrew. Afterwards, they let my father take me home.”


Rise in demolitions and displacement

For the third consecutive month, there was an increase in the number of Palestinian-owned structures demolished by the Israeli authorities in the West Bank and in the number of Palestinians displaced as a result.

In November, a total of 34 structures were demolished in East Jerusalem and Area C, up from 25 in October and eight in September. This month’s demolitions resulted in the displacement of 53 Palestinians, including 33 children, compared to 39 in October and zero in September. More structures were demolished in East Jerusalem in November (17) than in any other month this year.

In the first eleven months of 2010, a total of 347 Palestinian structures were demolished in these areas.3 While this represent an increase compared to the number of structures demolished during the parallel period in 2009 (265), fewer people have been displaced in 2010 demolitions (455 compared to 619).

Also in November, three families comprising 14 people (including five children) were displaced, when a group of Israeli settlers, accompanied by the Israeli police, took over a Palestinian residential building consisting of three apartments in Jabal al Mukabber village in East Jerusalem. Initial reports indicate that the settlers claim to have purchased the building from a deceased relative of the family a few years ago. However, the exact nature of the transaction remains disputed as some of the former


HOUSING CRISIS IN AL ‘ISAWIYA
House demolitions and the threat of displacement are two of the key causes of rising tensions between the Israeli authorities and residents of Al ‘Isawiya village in East Jerusalem (see casualties section herein). Out of 56 structures demolished by the Jerusalem municipality this year, over a quarter were located in Al ‘Isawiya. These demolitions mainly targeted livelihood structures and houses under construction, affecting 46 Palestinians, including 19 children.

Al ‘Isawiya is home to approximately 13,500 Palestinians and has about 2,400 dunums located within the Israeli-defined municipal area of Jerusalem.4 Between 1978 and 1992, the Jerusalem Municipality developed a detailed outline plan for Al ‘Isawiya that covered only 28% of town lands located within the municipal area.5 This plan, which was built without community involvement, failed to adequately meet residents’ housing and other infrastructure needs. As a result, residents were left with little choice to meet their needs than to build “illegally” and risk demolition of their structures and displacement.

In order to better address residents’ needs, the Israeli NGO Bimkom began developing an alternative plan for Al ‘Isawiya in 2004. After extensive consultations with residents, planning experts and various municipal and government officials, Bimkom developed a plan that covered 1,300 dunums.6 Toward the end of 2007, the Jerusalem local planning committee approved the plan submitted by Bimkom, but indicated that the plan’s border should be modified before being submitted to the District Planning Committee.

This success was short lived: when the Jerusalem Local Outline Plan 2000 (commonly referred to as the Jerusalem “master plan”) was published in 2008, it revealed that only some 90 additional dunums would be added to the existing municipal plan for Al ‘Isawiya (for a total of some 750 dunums, compared to the 1,300 dunums covered by Bimkom’s plan). Though Bimkom held a series of follow-up meetings with the municipality in order to negotiate changes to the Al ‘Isawiya plan, by early 2010, it became clear to Bimkom that the municipality was unwilling to expand the plans for Al ‘Isawiya. As a result, the hope of mitigating the housing crisis in Al ‘Isawiya in the near future has largely vanished.


Palestinian owners claim that their signatures on sales documents were falsified. Since late 2008, over 120 Palestinians have been displaced in the context of settler take-over of buildings in the heart of Palestinian neighbourhoods.

This month, OCHA recorded the delivery of stop work and demolition orders against 28 structures in the West Bank, affecting 102 people, as well as one eviction order that threatens to displace 60 Palestinians residing in Area C in the Tubas governorate.

Enclosed by the Wall: Al Walaja

The situation in Al Walaja continues to deteriorate owing to renewed construction of the Barrier in the area. The Barrier, if constructed along the projected route, will completely encircle the village, cutting it off from its agricultural land and nearby villages.

Al Walaja, which is located to the south of Jerusalem, is home to around 2,000 Palestinian residents, most of whom are registered refugees. The community lost the majority of its land to Israel in 1948, with additional land being lost in 1967 and in the 1970s for the construction of the Israeli settlements of Gilo and Har Gilo. In addition to the loss of land and livelihoods, the residents remain at risk of forced displacement as a result of uncertain residency status and house demolitions. At least 45 homes have been demolished in the village by Israeli forces since 1985, while another 45 have pending demolition orders against them.

The most recent threat to the community stems from a resumption in the construction of the Barrier in and around Al Walaja. In a ruling in 2004 the Israeli High Court concluded that the original route of the Barrier, which would have split the community in two, would need to be altered. The new route, while leaving the village intact, threatens to encircle the community, cutting it off from its agricultural land and turning it into an isolated enclave, save for a narrow tunnel connecting it to Beit Jala and Bethlehem. In a recent court hearing on 8 November, the Israeli High Court asked the State to clarify procedures for the expropriation of land in the area
and to temporarily halt work on the eastern part until a decision could be taken on the width of the Barrier, but failed to issue a injunction for ongoing
construction or order the Barrier to be rerouted.

These developments raise serious concerns about the situation in the community. In addition to the loss of land and restricted access to services and assistance, the route of the Barrier will further undermine the livelihood of the residents, resulting in increased poverty, dependency on humanitarian aid and potential future displacement.

Israeli authorities announced an easing
of access restrictions; removals and
addition of new obstacles recorded

On the occasion of the Muslim feast of Eid Al Adha (17-20 November), the Israeli authorities announced a number of easings on access restrictions in the West Bank. These measures included: the removal of 24 closure obstacles; expanding the operating hours at two crossings located on the Green Line in the Jenin area; and allowing men over 50 and women over 45, who hold West Bank IDs, to enter Jerusalem for the Friday prayers without a permit. The last two measures were in effect only during the period of the feast; OCHA is in the process of assessing the announced removal of obstacles. According to a USAID report, the majority of the 24 obstacles are located in the northern West Bank and the Ramallah area, mainly blocking access to minor roads or agricultural roads, and, therefore, having a minimal impact on Palestinian movement.

So far, OCHA confirmed two significant changes implemented at the beginning of the feast: the removal of a roadblock, located at the main entrance of Kharbath Bani Hareth village in the Ramallah area, allowing freer access for residents of the village to Ramallah City and the surrounding villages for the first time in almost nine years; and the partial opening of a road gate at the main entrance to Salfit City. Prior to the opening, the average length of the detour for those living in surrounding villages to enter Salfit City was 22 kilometres. Thus far, however, only registered mini-buses are allowed to pass through the gate, which has been in place for over seven years and has blocked access to basic services in Salfit City for more than 40,000 residents of villages located to the north.

New obstacles to movement were also recorded at the beginning of the month. In Al ‘Isawiya village in East Jerusalem, Israeli forces sealed two out of the four entrances to the village with roadblocks and erected a flying checkpoint at another entrance, forcing the residents to make long detours. In the Hebron area, eight closures, including road blocks and earthmounds, were installed in Al Buweira area, blocking agriculture roads along road 356.


CLOSURE SURVEY IN HEBRON/H2
A joint survey carried out by OCHA and the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) indicated that there are 122 closures blocking Palestinian access in the Israeli-controlled 4.2 square kilometer area of Hebron (H2). Ninety-three of these closures include: checkpoints (18); partial checkpoints (13); road blocks (55); an earthmound (1); and road gates (6); most of which have been in place since late 2000. The remaining 29 closures consisted of road barriers and cement barriers, barbed wires and iron gates. In addition, all roads that lead to the four Israeli settlements inside H2 are blocked for Palestinian vehicular access. These roads include the main commercial street, Ash Shuhada street, and other streets leading to Al Ibrahimi Mosque (Cave of the Patriarchs), which connect the four settlements to the two major settlements in the Hebron area, Kiryat Arba’ and Givat Kharsina.

These closures, along with ongoing settler violence, have affected both commercial activities and social life inside the Old City of Hebron. As a result, through the year, more than 1,000 homes are estimated to have been vacated by their former Palestinian residents, and more than 1,800 commercial businesses have closed. Nearly 650 Palestinian shops in the heart of the city were closed by military orders, which are renewed every six months. The closures are also affecting access to basic medical services, forcing pregnant women to stay at the homes of relatives or friends in the Palestinian-controlled area of Hebron area (H1) immediately before and after they deliver. In addition, the Palestinian Fire Department in H2 requires coordination with the Israeli authorities before it can reach any fire in the area. Since 2000, the department has recorded a delay of more than one hour in obtaining coordination in 83 separate incidents. The survey also indicates that, since late 2000, between 30 and 50 percent of children have dropped out of three schools located close the settlements in H2 and a clear decline in the number of Palestinians who visited the area in the last nine years, due to access restrictions and in fear of settler attacks.



Gaza Strip

Israeli air strikes and access restrictions
result in three deaths and 26 injuries

In November, Israeli forces killed three members of an armed group and injured 26 civilians inside the Gaza Strip. The majority of injuries (18) occurred in incidents along the fence dividing Israel and the Gaza Strip. Injuries in the first 11 months of 2010 were significantly higher than during the parallel period in 2009 (245 vs. 163), excluding casualties during the “Cast Lead” offensive. Over half of the injuries recorded since the beginning of 2010 took place near the fence (143 out of 245).

This month, the Israeli air force launched a number of air strikes, causing the death of three armed Palestinians, the injury of six civilians and damage to a number of houses. In one incident on 3 November, an Israeli air strike targeted and killed an alleged armed man, while he was driving his car inside Gaza City, and injured a female passerby. A similar incident occurred in Gaza City on 17 November, in which an alleged senior member of the “Army of Islam” faction and his brother (also allegedly affiliated with the same faction) were killed. Five other Palestinians, including two children (aged 13 and 2.5), were injured this month when two separate Israeli air strikes hit a house under construction in the Deir Al Balah area and an open field east of Khan Younis. Two additional Palestinian civilians were injured when a mortar shell, fired by armed Palestinians, landed inside the Gaza Strip, east of Khan Younis.

Incidents along the fence continued to take place due to Israeli restrictions on Palestinian access to areas located up to 1,500 metres from the fence (an area comprising 17 percent of the Gaza Strip’s territory). In a number of separate incidents, Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian workers collecting scrap metal near the fence, injuring 17 of them. Another mentally disabled man was injured when he reportedly approached the fence. In the same context, in 12 separate incidents, Israeli forces opened fire at farmers working on their land near the fence; no injuries occurred. Also on 19 occasions, Israeli forces launched incursions with their bulldozers and tanks a few hundred meters into the Gaza Strip and withdrew after conducting land leveling.

On 27 November, Israeli naval forces opened fire at two fishermen in the Beit Lahiya area, injuring both of them. While the Israeli authorities continue to restrict Palestinian fishing activities beyond three nautical miles from the shore, this incident occurred while the fishermen were on land, fishing from shore. In another ten separate incidents, Israeli naval forces opened ‘warning’ fire at Palestinian fishing boats, forcing them ashore. In 2010, Israeli forces have killed three fishermen and injured seven others in incidents related to restrictions on access to fishing areas.

Also this month, two boys (aged 11 and 12) were killed and another one (aged 14) was injured when one of the tunnels, allegedly built for military purposes by Palestinian factions in the Jabaliya area, collapsed. So far in 2010, 46 Palestinians have been killed and 87 have been injured in tunnel-related incidents.

Impact of easing of the Gaza access
regime continues to be limited
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Reconstruction continues to be limited by
restrictions on imports of construction materials;
limited exports allowed out
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

This month, 4,091 truckloads entered Gaza, representing 33 percent of the monthly average of truckloads entered into Gaza each month during the first five months of 2007 (12,350), prior to the imposition of the Gaza blockade.

Although the relaxation of the blockade has resulted in a greater variety of consumer goods available in the market, with consumer items making up the majority (72 percent) of imported goods, ongoing restrictions on basic construction materials, impediments to the movement of people as well as exports, continue to impede both economic revival and a significant improvement in the humanitarian situation. Critically needed housing reconstruction projects and upgrades to damaged infrastructure continue to be limited by restrictions on the entry of basic construction materials, particularly cement, gravel and steel bars. Prior to the blockade, consumer items accounted for no more than 45 percent of all imports, and construction materials made up 55 percent of goods that entered into Gaza.

Due to factors such natural growth and conflict-related damage, more than 86,000 housing units are currently needed for Palestinian families without appropriate housing, and the restrictions make it difficult to fill the gap in needs. In addition, insufficient construction material imports continue to negatively affect access to education: nearly 40,000 new students are unable to attend UNRWA schools, and hundreds of thousands of others continue to attend lessons in overcrowded classrooms.

This month, a limited amount of construction materials was allowed to enter for a number of pre-approved humanitarian projects implemented by international organizations. According to UNRWA, their 26 projects that have been approved, including schools, a health centre, a water and sanitation plant represent only seven percent of the UNRWA’s building plan in Gaza. Of those 26 projects, 13 projects have now had materials delivered. Gaza’s once thriving industries, which used to employ more than 50 percent of the labour force, remain crippled. Over 65 percent of Gaza industries are now closed and the remaining 35 percent are only partially operational. Economic recovery is dependent on rebuilding the economy’s productive capacity and allowing free movement of goods to and from Gaza and the free movement of people.

The majority of the population in Gaza is dependant on aid provided by aid organizations. According to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 47 percent of the labour force in Gaza is unemployed, and 71 percent is food insecure.

Significant reduction in volume of
wheat imports

The operation of the Karni Crossing, which was built and equipped to handle over 750 truckloads a day, remains limited to one conveyor belt used for the transfer of grains and construction gravel. Operation days of the conveyer belt are limited to two days per week; one day is allocated for the transfer of wheat and animal feed; and the other for gravel for approved international projects. Prior to the 20 June “easing” of the Gaza blockade, wheat and animal feed entered on both days, but since October, because of increased use of the conveyor belt for aggregates, grain imports were limited to one day only per week. A commitment by the Israeli authorities to open the Karni conveyor for a third day per week remains unfulfilled.

The volume of wheat grain allowed into Gaza, therefore, has been significantly reduced, with imports decreasing by around one-quarter in the period from June to October, compared to the previous five months (48,609 vs. 64,273 tonnes). The main constraint is the limited operation of the conveyor belt at Karni.

According to Gaza’s six mills, towards the end of November, there were over 500 truckloads (19,540 tonnes) of wheat delayed in Israel and waiting to enter Gaza. As of 29 November, there were some 3,020 tonnes of grain available at the six mills and 170 tonnes of wheat flour in the local market, quantities that cover the population’s needs for less than six days.

Limited shipments of exports leave
Gaza
On 28 and 30 November, Israeli authorities allowed four truckloads carrying strawberries (5.7 tonnes) and cut flowers (43,000 stems) to exit the Gaza Strip. These truckloads are the first to leave Gaza since April 2010.

During the 2009-2010 season, only around 50 tonnes of strawberries and only one-third of the 40 million cut flowers intended for export were allowed out, due to the ongoing restrictions on exports and the lack of necessary agricultural inputs. The Gaza Strip has the capacity to export 2,300 tonnes of strawberries and 55 million flowers each season. Since the tightening of the blockade on Gaza in June 2007, only 675 truckloads of exports have left Gaza, all of which were strawberries and cut flowers. By comparison, a monthly average of 1,086 exported truckloads left Gaza in the first five months of 2007, before the tightening.



Medical referrals update

Israeli authorities received 821 patient applications to leave Gaza through Erez checkpoint for treatment in hospitals in East Jerusalem, the West Bank, Israel and Jordan in November 2010. 650 applications (79.2 percent) were approved. This was higher than the rate in October of 76.2 percent but, substantially lower than in September, when it was 85 percent. One out of five patients who applied to cross Erez checkpoint for medical treatment could not make it to their hospital appointment outside the Gaza Strip. They were either delayed (18.8 percent) or denied (2.1 percent).


24-YEAR-OLD PATIENT SUFFERING FROM KIDNEY FAILURE DIED WHILE WAITING TO
EXIT GAZA FOR TREATMENT
A 24-year-old man from Khan Younis, in the Gaza Strip, died on 22 November while waiting for an urgent referral to a West Bank hospital. He was suffering from kidney failure and needed a new AV fistula, a small implant which is required for connect to a dialysis machine. He had previously received treatment at hospitals in East Jerusalem and the West Bank.

The latest request for urgent treatment was submitted on 2 November 2010. It was left unanswered until 22 November when the Israeli authorities approved the permission to cross Erez checkpoint. During this period the patient’s health condition deteriorated to the point where he was transferred to the intensive care unit. The AV fistula did not function anymore; he could therefore not receive regular dialysis and had to reduce his sessions. He died in the evening on 22 November, only hours before his travel to the specialist hospital. Since January 2009 a total of 34 patients have died while waiting to access hospitals outside Gaza. Treatment of dialysis in Gaza Strip is a challenge. Shifa Hospital, Gaza’s biggest hospital, illustrates this. Of the 185 patients receiving treatment in late November, 23 had hepatitis C and an additional 10 hepatitis B. These patients need dialysis treatment on separate machines in order to avoid contamination. Shifa Hospital has 38 dialysis machines out of which 8 are out of order.

For detailed data on referral of patients from Gaza subscribe to WHO’s monthly report at rad-report@who-health.org


FAO response to the Tuta Absoluta
outbreak

Tuta Absoluta (the Tomato Leaf Miner) was first detected in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) in early 2010, with severe damage being reported in greenhouses in the Gaza Strip by early June. The outbreak posed a major threat to the livelihoods of greenhouse tomato farmers – of whom there are approximately 3,5007 in the Gaza Strip. A major infestation would cause significant damage to open-field tomatoes and other related crops, including potato, aubergine, chili and sweet peppers.

In response, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) accessed USD 250,000 from the OCHA Humanitarian Response Fund (HRF) to implement a ‘mass trapping’ intervention, a method of controlling the level of infestation by killing the male of the species, which has proven effective in Spain and North Africa and reduces the need for the use of ineffective pesticides. With the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA), ICRC and the Palestinian Network of NGOs (PNGO), FAO distributed 10,000 traps and 30,000 pheromone doses to cover all 5,000 dunums of greenhouse tomatoes for up to 4 month. In addition, organizations have also included greenhouse repair in CAP 2011 project outlines to ensure that greenhouses are insect proof. Most greenhouses in the Gaza Strip are in very poor condition following three years of blockade and sporadic bombardment, but through insectproofing and the installation of double-door entry systems, they can be effectively protected. Through its HRF project, FAO distributed 1,500 emergency greenhouse repair kits, consisting of insect-proof mesh and appropriate tools.

FAO also produced a leaflet for farmers, distributing it through grassroots organisations in the Gaza Strip. Sector partners have conducted training with farmers and agronomists from the MoA and Palestinian NGOs on the pest itself, use of the pheromone traps and other simple plant protection measures.

As a result of these interventions, the negative impact the Tuta absoluta outbreak in the Gaza Strip has been limited as the spread of the pest has been controlled, there is adequate supply of tomato crop in Gaza, and tomato prices have stabilized.



Issues across occupied Palestinian territory



Anniversary of the Convention on the
Rights of the Child

November marked the anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC), adopted on 20 November 1989. The CRC, the most widely ratified human rights treaty in history, sets forth a minimum standard of human rights to which all children are entitled. Regrettably, however, Palestinian children in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), like those elsewhere, continue to suffer a serious lack of protection.

Palestinian children throughout the oPt continue to be exposed to violence stemming from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, internal Palestinian strife and related events. Thus far in 2010, 21 Palestinian children have been killed and 376 injured, in a range of contexts from Israeli settler and military violence to internal Palestinian fighting and reckless handling of weapons. Of growing concern is the number children exposed to dangerous conditions in the context of the tunnel trade or while collecting scrap metal or rubble in the Gaza Strip; this month, all three child fatalities (three boys, aged 11, 12 and 13) were killed, and another four children injured, in these contexts.

Israel’s blockade on the Gaza Strip and a range of access restrictions in the West Bank leave many Palestinian children vulnerable to poverty and food insecurity, unable to access adequate medical treatment or safe drinking water, and unable to access education in a safe and clean environment.

Children also remain at-risk of losing their homes and schools or having their families’ livelihoods threatened as a result of the Israeli authorities’ demolition of Palestinian-owned structures or Israeli settlers’ take-over of their homes. This year, at least 235 children have been displaced following demolition of their houses in East Jerusalem and Area C, while another 509 have been affected. In addition, this month, five children were displaced when a group of Israeli settlers took over a residential building in East Jerusalem, bringing the total number of children displaced as a result of evictions in 2010 to 36.8 In the Gaza Strip, Israel’s continued ban on the entry of construction materials has prevented thousands of families from re-building homes destroyed during Israeli military operations, or building new homes to meet population growth.

Palestinian children also continue to be subject to reported abusive treatment during arrest and imprisonment. As of the end of October, 256 children were being held in Israeli prisons and detention centers.9 This month, the Israeli authorities continued their campaign of arrest of children in Silwan in East Jerusalem, sparking additional criticism over the treatment of children during arrest and interrogation (see related piece herein); child arrests in other parts of the West Bank continued as well.

The vulnerability of Palestinian children was also highlighted this month in a landmark case argued before the Israeli Supreme Court by the Israeli human rights NGO, Hamoked – Center for Defense of the Individual. The case concerns a Palestinian child resident of East Jerusalem who has been denied permanent residency by the Israeli Ministry of Interior. According to Hamoked, the Court’s ruling on the case will determine the fate of scores of other East Jerusalem children who should be granted permanent residency.

A key problem affecting children’s rights in the oPt is the near total absence of accountability for allegations of human rights abuses. This month, two Israeli soldiers received a three-month suspended prison sentence after being convicted by an Israeli military court of using a Palestinian child as a human shield during Israel’s “Cast Lead” offensive last year. The soldiers were charged with forcing a nine-year-old boy to open bags they thought might contain explosives. So far, only four Israeli soldiers, including the two convicted this month, have been prosecuted in the context of allegations of misconduct during “Cast Lead”, despite allegations of numerous, serious violations of international human rights and humanitarian law by human rights groups.

The protection issues affecting Palestinian children extend beyond those identified above; for many, virtually every aspect of their daily life is negatively impacted in some way by Israel’s continued occupation, or, to a lesser extent, by internal Palestinian strife. This reality underscores the need for intensified efforts to transform the ideals embodied in the CRC into tangible reality for children in the oPt.

Consolidated Appeals (CAP), 2010
update

As of 6 December 2010, funding levels stand at USD 299.6 million or 50 percent of the total appeal, according to the OCHA Financial Tracking System (FTS). Following the CAP 2010 mid year review, the overall request was reduced from USD 665 million to USD 603 million.

Only 47 percent of projects in Gaza and the West Bank are funded, whereas 64 percent of pan-oPt projects are funded.

To date, UN agencies who make up 81 percent of the CAP 2010 appeal, have obtained 54 percent of the funding they requested in this appeal, whereas NGOs have only received 34 percent of funding.

Sectors with higher levels of funding include: Coordination and Support Services (90 percent), Health and Nutrition (87 percent), Food Security (62 percent), Shelter and non-food items (65 percent) and Protection (54 percent). However, a number of sectors have very low funding levels including: Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (38 percent) Cash and Cash-for-Work (34 percent), Agriculture (22 percent), and Education (17 percent).

Launch of CAP 2011

The CAP 2011 was launched in Geneva on 30 November 2011, with a satellite launches in Brussels and Doha. CAP 2011 for the oPt presents a strategy budgeted at US$ 575 million, supported by 213 projects, including 147 from local and international NGOs and 66 from UN agencies.


A breakdown of CAP 2011 is as
follows:

58 percent of proposed CAP projects will be implemented in Gaza, 29 percent in the West Bank, and a further 13 percent of projects will be implemented across the oPt.

The humanitarian strategy and projects presented in the 2011 CAP address only a portion of the existing needs in the oPt. Many of those needs require recovery and longer-term solutions within the framework of Palestinian national plans and other strategies, and a resolution of the underlying political conflict. The 2011 CAP was designed in consultation with the Palestinian Authority. This CAP includes an unprecedented commitment on the part of the humanitarian community to place stronger emphasis on the gender dimension of the humanitarian situation, as evidenced by the implementation of a gender marker in the design, implementation and monitoring of CAP projects and the use of sex disaggregated indicators and targets.





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