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ICRC activities in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories: October 2006

11-12-2006 Operational Update

In Israel and the Palestinian Territories, the ICRC works towards ensuring the faithful application of International Humanitarian Law (IHL), and above all the Fourth Geneva Convention relative to the protection of civilians in times of armed conflict and occupation. The following is an update of activities for October 2006.

 

Protection 
 

 Promoting respect for the civilian population  

In October, ICRC delegates closely monitored the beginning of the Olive Harvest throughout the West Bank. They reported difficulties encountered by some farmers to the Israeli Civil Administration.

In Gaza, the delegates continued to distribute relief assistance to families whose houses were destroyed by the IDF. In the course of the month, the ICRC presented, to the IDF, its concerns regarding the large scale destruction of houses and agricultural land in the south of the Gaza Strip. 

In Gaza still, the ICRC reminded the Israeli authorities of the importance for the fishermen to be granted sufficient access to the sea in view of the upcoming " sardine season " ; an industry on which thousands of Palestinians depend.

 Monitoring conditions of detention  

    

In Israel and the Occupied and Autonomous Territories, the ICRC regularly visits detainees falling under its mandate in order to monitor their conditions of detention and the treatment they receive. The observations and recommendations of the ICRC are submitted confidentially to the authorities in charge.

 Detainees visited in Israeli places of detention  

    

In October, The ICRC visited 18 Israeli places of detention, including interrogation centres, provisional detention centres and prisons.

 Detainees visited in the Territories  

In the West Bank, ICRC delegates visited Nablus and Daheriyeh Central Prisons and the interrogation centres of the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) and the Preventive Security in Qalqilia as well as the Police Station in Jericho. On the occasion of Eid Al Fitr, the ICRC distributed baklava sweets to all detainees in different places of detention in the West Bank and Gaza.

 Family visits and messages to detainees  

    

The ICRC's Family Visit Programme allows families from Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Occupied Golan to visit relatives held in Israeli places of detention. Facilitating these contacts is of primary importance to the ICRC.

In October, 13,719 persons travelled to 23 Israeli places of detention and visited 5,658 relatives in detention.

Another way of maintaining family links while people are detained is to exchange Red Cross Messages (RCM). 1,550 messages with family news were exchanged through the ICRC between detainees and their relatives in September.

 
Assistance 
 

During the month of October, the ICRC carried out the following assistance activities:

 House destruction relief program  

72 families in the West Bank and Gaza Strip whose homes were damaged or destroyed received ICRC relief kits.

 H2 assistance program  

In the city of Hebron (zone H2 under Israeli control), the ICRC distributed monthly food parcels to 1,796 families who are particularly affected by strict closures.

 Emergency assistance  

    

Food and hygiene parcels were distributed to 108 vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza.

In addition, the ICRC funded the rehabilitation of the olive press in Zabda village. The new press started functioning in October and will serve some 400 farmers from Jenin district.

    

 
Raising awareness of the ICRC and international humanitarian law  
 

It is the responsibility of all parties involved in armed conflict to respect international humanitarian law. The ICRC supports the parties'efforts by raising awareness about IHL and about its own role and activities.

During October, in the aftermath of the hostilities in Israel and Lebanon and in the wake of the deteriorating situation in the Gaza Strip, ICR C assistance, detention and protection activities, including efforts on behalf of the three Israeli captured soldiers, were discussed in interviews given to various Israeli media outlets. The basic principles of IHL during the conduct of hostilities were also raised through media interviews.

A second session on the Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) education program, organized by the Israeli Ministry of Education, was held in Kiryat Ono for teachers of the first school to hold a pilot using the program. A session was also held with the College of Management Law students who will participate in the pilot alongside the teachers.

On the Palestinian side, several dissemination sessions were held for PRCS staff and volunteers, members of village councils and local NGOs in the West Bank and Gaza.