ICRC activities in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories: April 2006
30-04-2006 Operational Update
The following is an update of activities carried out by the ICRC in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories in April 2006.
Promoting respect for the civilian population
Following several incidents in which civilians, both Palestinians and Israelis, were killed or injured, the ICRC recalled that international humanitarian law (IHL) strictly prohibits attacks directed against civilians and civilian objects, and acts of violence intended to spread terror among the civilian population. Indiscriminate attacks are also prohibited under this body of law, which requires that a strict distinction be made between the civilian population and military objectives.
The ICRC monitored the numerous restrictions of movement imposed on the Palestinian population throughout the West Bank. Whenever necessary, it intervened to facilitate the passage of ambulances at checkpoints.
In the West Bank and Gaza, the ICRC delegates continued to document cases of IHL violations. The ICRC was particularly alarmed by the increasing acts of violence committed by settlers against Palestinian farmers since the beginning of April.
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 April, ICRC delegates visited all four Israeli interrogation centres as well as Givon, Gilboa, Shattah, Ashmoret, Hadarim, Nitzan, Eshel, Ohalei Kedar and Magen prisons. They also visited Salem, Efraim, Binyamin, Gush Etzion and Howarah provisional detention centres as well as Magen Hospital.
Detainees visited in Gaza and the West Bank
In the Gaza Strip, ICRC delegates visited Saraya central prison and the interrogation centre of the Mashtal general intelligence (Mukhabarat).
In the West Bank, ICRC delegates visited Nablus, Daheriyeh and Jericho central prisons and the interrogation centres run by the Mukhabarat, military intelligence (Istikhbarat) and preventive security services in Hebron, Salfit, Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah and Nablus. Other visits were carried out in Daheriyeh, Salfit, Jericho, Tulkarem and Ramallah 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 ICRC.
In April, more than 15,200 people travelled to 23 Israeli places of detention and visited over 5,800 relatives in detention.
Red Cross messages are another means of maintaining links between detainees and their families. In April, the ICRC facilitated the exchange of over 1,000 such messages, whose content is strictly limited to family news.
Latest distributions in Gaza and the West Bank
During the month of April, the ICRC carried out the following assistance activities:
House destruction relief programme
Four 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 particularly affected by strict closures.
Six food and hygiene parcels were distributed to vulnerable families in the West Bank.
The rehabilitation of a pumping station in Falamya, Qalqilia district was completed in April and handed over to the Palestinian Water Authority. In Kufur Thulth, Qalqilia district, the construction of a water network was launched. The project will serve 5,000 people and is expected to be completed in July. Meanwhile, there are two ongoing projects: Kufur Thulth booster station and Yatta water network.
Following the signature on 30 April of a three-year Cooperation Framework Agreement, the ICRC and PRCS signed annual agreements on emergency medical services, the promotion of law and fundamental principles, and mine risk reduction.
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 Israel, presentations were made to military police (MP) passage unit trainees, as well as to MP trainees bound for the military detention centres. Presentations were also made to non-commissioned officers in the Israeli Defence Force (IDF) foreign relations and liaison unit and an IDF battalion operating under the Ramallah Brigade.
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 Palestine Red Crescent staff and volunteers, village councils, students and locally based women's NGOs.