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

30-06-2006 Operational Update

Update of activities carried out by the ICRC in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories in June 2006



 Promoting respect for the civilian population  

The ICRC has been closely following the mounting tension and military attacks in the Gaza Strip that have led to the loss of lives as well as the destruction of civilian infrastructure. Particularly worrying was the targeting of the electricity system that left the majority of the population without power. The ICRC called on all parties to respect the basic principles of International Humanitarian Law, particularly distinction, proportionality and precaution.

The ICRC continued to address the issue of the restrictions of movement imposed on the Palestinian residents in the northern West Bank and the economic and social consequences that such limitations have on the civilian population.

The ICRC has devoted particular attention to the area of the Hebron district known as Masafer Yatta, which is facing a series of problems linked to the presence of settlements and the construction of the West Bank Barrier. The affected community, which finds itself increasingly isolated, is experiencing growing difficulties in accessing urban areas, with a negative effect on their access to healthcare, education and means of livelihood.

Two seminars on the " UN Standard Minimum Rules on the treatment of prisoners " were organised in Ramallah and Nablus with the participation of about 55 Wes t Bank prison staff. This forum was an occasion for a constructive dialogue on challenges faced by prison personnel in their everyday work.

 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 ICRC submits its observations and recommendations confidentially to the authorities in charge.

 Detainees visited in Israeli places of detention  

In June, ICRC delegates visited all four Israeli interrogation centres as well as Qetziot, Ohalei Kedar, Megiddo, Shattah, Neve Tirza, Magen, Nitzan, Ayalon and Hasharon prisons. They also visited Salem, Efraim, Binyamin, Gush Etzion and Howarah provisional detention centres as well as Hadera Immigration Police Station.

 Detainees visited in Gaza and the West Bank  

In the Gaza Strip, ICRC delegates visited Saraya central prison and the interrogation centres of the general intelligence (Mukhabarat) and the military intelligence (Istikhbarat).

In the West Bank, ICRC delegates visited Nablus, Daheriyeh and Jericho central prisons and the interrogation centres run by the Mukhabarat, the Istikhbarat and preventive security services in Hebron, Jericho, Tulkarem and Ramallah. Other visits were carried out in Jericho and Tulkarem police stations.

 Family visits and messages to detainees  

The ICRC's family visits programme enables 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 IC RC.

In June, more than 18,500 people travelled to 23 Israeli places of detention and visited over 7,100 relatives in detention.

Red Cross messages are another means of maintaining links between detainees and their families. In June, the ICRC facilitated the exchange of over 3,400 such messages, whose content is strictly limited to family news.


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

 House destruction relief programme  

Five families in the West Bank received ICRC relief kits following the destruction of their houses by the IDF.

 H2 assistance programme  

In the city of Hebron (zone H2, under Israeli control), the ICRC distributed food parcels and hygiene kits to more than 1,700 families affected by strict closures.

 Emergency assistance  

Food and hygiene parcels were distributed to 70 vulnerable families in the West Bank.

In addition, two " cash for work " projects were completed in June, providing temporary employment for 158 heads of household: the vegetable market in Beit Ummar in Hebron district and the canal rehabilitation project in Jifflick (Jericho district).

 Water assistance  

The installation of a well pump in Tammoun in Tubas district was completed in June. In Kufur Thulth, Qalqilia district, the construction of a water network is continuing. The project will serve 5,0 00 people and is expected to be completed in July. The Yatta water network is scheduled to be completed in August.

Cooperation with the Palestine Red Crescent Society (PRCS) and Magen David Adom (MDA) 

In June, the ICRC donated and handed over two fully equipped ambulances to the Red Crescent Maternity Hospital in East Jerusalem. The Israeli Ministry of Transport agreed that the Red Crescent Emblem could be used on these two ambulances in East Jerusalem.

Raising awareness of the ICRC and international humanitarian law 

It is the responsibility of all those involved in armed conflict to respect international humanitarian law. The ICRC supports their efforts to do so by raising awareness of the law and of the organization's role and activities.

IN partnership with the Hebrew University, the third International Humanitarian Law Guest lecture (in a series of six) on " Problems on IHL in the context of the Israel-Palestine conflict took place in June. Around 100 participants from academic circles, NGOs, international organizations and embassies attended.

In Israel, presentations were made to the command of an Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) operational battalion, as well as to check-point commanders. Presentations on the ICRC and IHL were also made to MA students taking a course on International Organizations at Haifa University.

In the Palestinian territories, the ICRC gave a lecture on IHL and the ICRC to about 700 students from the Islamic University in Gaza.

The ICRC also held information sessions on humanitarian law for officials and members of the Palestinian security forces in Gaza and in the West Bank. Other sessions were carried out for Red Crescent staff and volunteers, members of village councils, students and locally based NGOs.