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ICRC activities in Israel and the occupied and autonomous territories: March 2007

20-04-2007 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.


  ©ICRC/C, von Toggenburg/il-e-00751    
  Hebron. Palestinian farmer going through a security zone in order to reach his house.    
    The ICRC continues to address the humanitarian consequences stemming from the ongoing construction of the West Bank Barrier in the districts of Hebron, Qalqilia and Salfit. The ICRC is particularly concerned about the difficulties experie nced by Palestinian farmers in accessing privately owned lands located in the seam zone. While recalling to the Israeli authorities the illegality of the West Bank Barrier when it deviates from the Green Line into occupied territory, the ICRC seeks to minimise the negative impact for the affected communities.

Eviction problems faced by several Bedouin communities living in " area c " zones throughout the West Bank, particularly in the Jordan Valley, Nablus and Ramallah districts, are being discussed by the ICRC with the relevant Israeli authorities in order to avoid forcible transfers..

 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 March, the ICRC visited 20 Israeli places of detention, including provisional detention centres, police stations and prisons as well as the weekly visits of the interrogation centres.

 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, Doura, Jericho, Qalqilia, Nablus and the Gaza Strip. 

  ©ICRC/T. Gassmann/il-e-00986    
  Qalandya checkpoint. ICRC-organized family visits with detained relatives.    

 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 March, 17,925 persons travelled to 27 Israeli places of detention and visited 7,259 relatives in detention.

Another way of maintaining family links while people are detained is to exchange Red Cross Messages(RCM): 1,770 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  

  ©ICRC/C, von Toggenburg/il-e-00751    
  Hebron. This man has just received a sheep during an ICRC distribution.    
    In the West Bank and Gaza the ICRC provided mattresses, blankets, kitchen sets, food parcels and other essential items including tents when required to 48 families whose houses were totally or partially destroyed.

 Hebron (H2) assistance programme  

In the old city of Hebron (H2), the ICRC distributed 3,600 food parcels and 1,800 hygiene kits to 1,800 families particularly affected by strict closures as well as over 10 kg of extra wheat flour per family for 1,219 vulnerable families.

 Emergency assistance  

It has provided 322 food parcels, 298 hygiene kits, 255 kitchen sets and 255 gas bottles and lamps to 329 needy families in the West Bank and Gaza.

 Livelihood support and cash for work programme  

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

Five households have received such assistance from the ICRC during the month of March. The ICRC also paid for 4,867 days of work in various infrastructure or agricultural projects across the West Bank.

The ICRC continued to support and to monitor the periodic passage of PRCS ambulances across the Allenby Bridge in order to facilitate the transfer of patients from the West Bank who require advanced medical treatment not available in the Palestinian facilities. The transfers are accomplished with the cooperation of the Jordan Red Crescent.

The ICRC coordinated its material, engineering and logistical support for the victims of the Beit Lahiya sewage spill in Gaza with the disaster response efforts of the Gaza City branch of the PRCS.

  ©ICRC/T. Gassmann/il-e-00871    
  Ramallah. A volunteer of the Palestinien Red Crescent Society.    
     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 March, a presentation on the ICRC and basic principles of IHL was given to an Israeli Military Police company in charge of security checks in several Nablus checkpoints.

Dissemination sessions on the ICRC and IHL were organized for students, members of women's centers and NGOs as well as PRCS staff and volunteers in the West Bank and Gaza. The ICRC also participated in various celebrations marking the International Women's Day.