ICRC activities in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories: November 2005
30-11-2005 Operational Update
The following is an update of activities carried out by the ICRC in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories in November 2005.
Monitoring conditions of detention
Visits to detainees falling under the ICRC mandate are a long-standing priority of the institution in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories. ICRC delegates regularly visit detainees held in Israeli and Palestinian places of detention to monitor their treatment and living conditions. On the basis of its findings, the ICRC makes confidential representations to the authorities in charge.
In November, medical staff working in different places of detention in the Gaza Strip participated in a seminar organized by the ICRC, to discuss topics related to medical ethic and detention.
Detainees visited in Israeli places of detention
In November, ICRC delegates visited 4 interrogation centres and Ma'assiahu, Ayalon, Shikma, Hadarim, Shattah, Ashmoret, Hasharon, Dekel, Zohar and Ohalei Kedar Prisons. They also visited Salem, Efraim, Benyamin and Gush Etzion provisional detention centres as well as Offer and Qetziot military detention camps.
Detainees visited in the Territories
On the Palestinian side, ICRC delegates visited, in the Gaza Strip, the Saraya Central Prison and the interrogation centres of Preventive Security, the Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat) and the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat). The police stations in Khan Younis and Rafah were also visited.
In the West Bank, ICRC delegates visited the interrogation centres of the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat), the Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat) and the Preventive Security in Jericho, Hebron, Qalqilia, Bethlehem and Ramallah. They also visited the police stations in Ramallah and Jericho.
Family visits and messages to detainees
The ICRC's Family Visit Programme allows families from Gaza, the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights to visit relatives held in Israeli places of detention. Facilitating these contacts is of primary importance to the ICRC.
In November, over 16,000 people travelled to 23 Israeli places of detention and visited almost 6,500 relatives in detention.
Detainees and their families are also able to maintain contact by exchanging red cross messages. In the period mentioned, 2,600 such family news messages were exchanged through the ICRC between detainees and their relatives.
Latest distributions in the West Bank and Gaza
During the month of November, the ICRC carried out the following relief activities:
House destruction relief programme
Ten families in the West Bank and Gaza received an ICRC relief kit.
H2 assistance programme
In the city of Hebron (zone H2 – under Israeli control), the ICRC distributed food parcels to almost 2,500 families especially affected by strict closures.
35 food parcels were distributed to vulnerable families in the West Bank.
The water trucking programme was completed in mid-November. More than 10,000 truckloads of 10,000 litres each were delivered during the programme to households and schools in the districts of Hebron a nd Tubas.
Two projects are in the implementation phase in Qalqilia District. These are the construction of a booster station in Kufr Thulth and the rehabilitation of the pumping station in Falamia. Once completed, these projects will improve the water supply of some 5,700 people.
A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) including an operational agreement was formally signed at the International Conference Centre in Geneva on November 28 by the MDA Chairman and PRCS President at a ceremony presided by the Swiss federal counsellor, Micheline Calmy-Rey in the presence of ICRC President Jakob Kellenberger as well as representatives of Israel and the Palestinian Authority.
The MoU reflects the strong humanitarian commitment and genuine spirit of cooperation and mutual respect that now exists between the two National Societies.
Promoting respect for the civilian population
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 November, presentations on the ICRC and basic principles of IHL were held for Israeli checkpoint commanders, civi l administration officers and military police (West Bank Barrier passage unit). Similar sessions were held for IDF operational battalions and the foreign relations & liaison branch. For the first time, a session was organized for Military Police commanders in Ofer Military Detention Camp.
On the Palestinian side, a 3-day evaluation workshop on the education programme " Exploring Humanitarian Law " (EHL) was held in Ramallah with the Ministry of Education and the PRCS to evaluate the progress achieved during the 2004-2005 school year. In addition, a roundtable was held in Ramallah for Palestinian professors of IHL to discuss the course or module of IHL implemented in the different Palestinian universities.
Also, sessions were carried out for PRCS staff and volunteers, members of the security services, families of detainees, students, national NGO employees, members of Islamic NGOs as well as for professors of the Shari'a College in Qalqilia.