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Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
30 November 2004
OFFICE FOR THE COORDINATION OF HUMANITARIAN AFFAIRS
P.O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem
Phone: (972) 2 – 5829962 / 5825853, Fax: (972) 2 – 5825841
HUMANITARIAN MONITORING REPORT - NOVEMBER 2004
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.ochaopt.org).
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 with regard to humanitarian needs.
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 Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Palestinian Ministry of Health (MoH) ambulances, have experienced problems providing assistance and services to beneficiaries.
• Ambulances will wait no more than 30 minutes at checkpoints.
• Mechanisms will be set in place to ensure patients seeking critical medical services (child delivery, dialysis, chemotherapy) can pass all checkpoints quickly.
• Problems relating to water deliveries in Palestinian towns and villages will be addressed to ensure that daily provision of adequate volume can be supplied by Palestinian water tankers.
Facilitation of International Humanitarian Organisations
• The government of Israel will fully facilitate the activities of international organisations, with particular reference to UNRWA.
• The government of Israel agreed to review and strengthen the liaison arrangements between international agencies and the Israel Defense Forces (IDF).
On previous occasions, the government of Israel has made the following commitments, which were confirmed to the mission:
• The fishing zone for Palestinian boats off the Gaza Strip coast will be extended to 12 nautical miles.
• Olive farmers will be allowed access to their fields.
• Increased shipments will be enabled at Karni crossing in the Gaza Strip.
• The number of permits for Palestinian workers in Israel will be increased.
In November ambulance operators, including PRCS, MoH and UNRWA, a total of at least 20 access incidents (compared to 47 in October 2004) in which the provision of first aid and/or medical evacuations were delayed, obstructed and/or prevented by the IDF.
Infrastructure in the oPt continued to suffer from frequent Israeli military operations. Such operations destroy or badly damage basic public infrastructure including water networks. Palestinians face severe difficulties accessing safe water. Furthermore, Palestinian Authority resources are being diverted into repairing damages rather than maintaining the water and sanitation network. Contamination of water supplies has increased as a consequence of degraded infrastructure. The use of tankered water and the inability of the Ministry of Health to monitor water quality have also increased.
Obstructions of movement for international humanitarian organisations
In November 2004, international relief agencies filed at least 12 reports (compared to 73 in October) 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.
There was a small reduction in the number of containers entering the Gaza Strip from Israel in November compared to October and September. Karni Terminal was closed between 11 and 16 November following Yasser Arafat’s death. In spite of this closure, the number of containers departing the Gaza Strip in November was considerably higher than the October and September numbers.
Erez remained closed to Palestinians throughout November 2004. Also, Erez Industrial Zone continued to be closed for Palestinian labourers.
Access out of the Gaza Strip to Egypt via Rafah crossing continued to be limited for males aged between 16 and 35 years. Sufa crossing remained closed for Palestinians throughout November - the eighth consecutive month.
Trade figures are reported by Palestinian officials at Karni to OCHA. These figures represent the most accurate figures available to OCHA at the time of publication. Movement of fishermen in the Gaza Strip remained subject to strict restrictions.