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IsraeI and the occupied and autonomous territories: ICRC activities June 2007

18-07-2007 Operational Update

In Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories, the International Committee of the Red Cross (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 - Also available in Hebrew.


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 Promoting respect for the civilian population  


In the West Bank, the ICR C has continued to follow the ongoing issue of settler violence and the serious consequences that it entails in the H2 part of Hebron city. The ICRC has been addressing different relevant Israeli authorities in order to push for immediate and strong action to ensure law enforcement.

Still in the Hebron district, the ICRC has engaged in extensive discussions with the Israeli Civil Administration concerning the humanitarian consequences stemming from the West Bank Barrier in the district. The ongoing dialogue is aimed at ensuring regular access to the seam zone (between the Barrier and the " Green Line " ) for Palestinian farmers.

In Gaza, ICRC teams have carried out a number of visits to persons held in connection with the recent fighting. ICRC delegates also visited detention places throughout the West Bank in order to meet persons arrested and detained under State of Emergency legislation. Assistance, such as clothes and essential hygiene items were provided in several places.


 Monitoring conditions of detention  


In Israel, 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 June, the ICRC visited 20 Israeli places of detention, including provisional detention centres , police stations and prisons as well as the interrogation centres which are visited on a weekly basis.

 Detainees visited in the Palestinian territories  


On the Palestinian side, ICRC delegates visited prisons, police stations and other detention facilities managed by the Palestinian Authority in Bethlehem, Hebron, Ramallah, Jericho, Qalqilia, Nablus, Jenin, Tulkarem and the Gaza Strip.

 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.

In June, 14,311 persons travelled to 27 Israeli places of detention and visited 5,774 relatives in detention.

The ICRC Family Visit Programme has been suspended by the Israeli authorities since 6 June for families from the Gaza Strip. The suspension currently affects some 900 detainees from Gaza held in Israeli prisons.

Another way of maintaining family links while people are detained is to exchange Red Cross Messages (RCM): 1,000 messages with family news were exchanged through the ICRC between detainees and their relatives.

The ICRC made several hundred phone calls to family members to inform them of the whereabouts and welfare of detained relatives.


 House destruction relief programme  


In the West Bank and Gaza the ICRC provided mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, food parcels and other essential items including tents when required to 11 families whose houses were totally or partially destroyed.

 H2 assistance programme  


In the old city of Hebron (H2), the ICRC distributed 3,470 food parcels to 1,735 families particularly affected by strict closures as well as over 10 kg of extra wheat flour per family for 1,173 vulnerable families.

 Emergency assistance  


The ICRC provided 228 food parcels, 100kg of wheat flour, 26 hygienic kits and 549 jars of tahina (traditional sesame cream) to 159 needy families in the West Bank and Gaza including Al Shifa, Kamal Edwan and Al Ahli hospitals in the Gaza Strip.

 Livelihood support and cash for work programme  


The ICRC also paid for 6,879 days of work in various infrastructure or agricultural projects across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.

Livelihood support programmes allowed 12 households to develop new ways of generating income despite restrictions on movement imposed by closures, settlements or the West Bank Barri er. The ICRC assistance generally includes materials such as greenhouse items, professional kits, livestock or material for the rehabilitation of boats.

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

In June, the ICRC and the PRCS prepared a damage assessment from the PRCS Gaza branch, comprising Al Quds hospital, medical storehouse, administration building, cultural building, 13 ambulances, and disaster management unit, with a view to assisting the PRCS re-establish full operations following the impact of the clashes on these facilities. 

In Ramallah, the ICRC participated in advanced IHL training sessions organized by the PRCS for its Branch Administrative Directors from throughout the West Bank.

Close cooperation with the MDA and Ashkelon Emergency Medical Services station in particular was maintained in relation to the coordination of emergency patient transfers (weapon-wounded and chronically-ill) out of Gaza.

Raising awareness about the ICRC and international humanitarian law 

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

In June, a conference was held at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and at Tel Aviv University, focusing on the law of occupation in the Palestinian Israeli conflict. This three-day conference was organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross, the Minerva Centre for Human Rights at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Tel Aviv University, in cooperation with the K onrad Adenauer Foundation.

In addition, presentations on the ICRC and basic principles of IHL were given to Military Police and the Israeli Prison Service.

On the Palestinian side, dissemination sessions on ICRC activities and the basic principles of IHL were carried out for members of women's centres, NGOs and village councils as well as PRCS staff and volunteers in the West Bank and Gaza.