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Source: Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
15 September 2005




GAZA ACCESS & INFRASTRUCTURE
SITUATION REPORT
15 September 2005

Overview

The withdrawal of Israeli forces from the Gaza Strip from the early hours of Monday 12 September 2005 has had an immediate and beneficial impact on the lives of the 1.4 million Gazan residents.

This report reviews the key changes to access that have occurred and a preliminary overview of the status of infrastructure.

Internal Closures

The withdrawal of the IDF has resulted in the lifting of all internal closures within the Gaza Strip and has had a particular impact on the residents of the five Gaza enclaves: As Seafa, Al Mawasi, Al Ma’ani, Abu Nahia and Abu al Ajin. These were isolated Palestinian communities in close proximity to Israeli settlements or settlement roads where:
In the northern Gaza Strip up to 190 Palestinians who live in the As Seafa area now have complete freedom of movement to access schools, health clinics and shops in the nearby towns of Beit Lahia and Jabalia. Prior to disengagement:
In the central Gaza Strip, the approximately 180 Palestinian residents of the Al Ma’ani enclave now have freedom of movement to access services in nearby Wadi Salqa, Deir el Balah and the rest of the Gaza Strip. Prior to disengagement:
In the southern Gaza Strip, the area of Al Mawasi has approximately 5500 Palestinians residents. Al Mawasi residents are now able to move freely to the nearby towns of Khan Younis and Rafah. This is particularly important for children of school age whose education is believed to have suffered as a result of movement restrictions over the last five years. There was insufficient capacity within Al Mawasi not least in terms of qualified teachers to cope with the number of students. Prior to disengagement:
On the grounds of security the IDF regularly divided Gaza into three and on occasion four segments. The principal closure points were at the Coastal road to the west of Netzarim settlement and Abu Holi junction. Abu Holi junction is now open 24 hours a day allowing free movement of people and goods throughout Gaza. Prior to disengagement:
External Closures

Rafah passenger terminal is the principal point of departure for Gazans travelling overseas and is located on the Egyptian border. Rafah passenger terminal has remained closed since 7 September with the expectation it will not reopen for a further 6 months.

At the current time alternative arrangements for movement in and out of Gaza have still not been agreed between the Israelis and the Palestinian Authority (PA). If such a closure is maintained, it will impact on those several hundred patients who require regular secondary health care treatment in Egypt and other countries. However on the basis of an OCHA field visit earlier today:
Erez Crossing Point has remained open throughout the disengagement for the movement of international staff, senior PA officials and referred humanitarian cases with prior coordiantion. A small numbers of workers and merchants have been have been able to enter Israel on a daily basis with 179 workers and 170 merchants crossing today.

Israel has indicated that in the months ahead it will increase the number of daily permits available for Palestinian workers entering Israel and intends to make 15,000 available by 2006. The government has also stated that it does not foresee a Palestinian workforce in Israel by 2008.

Status of Infrastructure

Roads

An immediate priority of the PA and the Gaza municipalities has been to re-establish a unified road network that was disrupted by IDF imposed closures over the course of the last five years. Since Monday, 12 September 2005:
Other Infrastructure
PA Security Forces have been observed since 13 September deployed at the entry points to the former settlements to protect and secure the remaining public buildings, including synagogues:




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