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Operational update: ICRC activities in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories, Jun 2005

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The following is an update of activities carried out by the ICRC in Israel, the Occupied and Autonomous Territories in June 2005.

Protection

Promoting respect for the civilian population

The ICRC continues to monitor respect for international humanitarian law (IHL). Its delegates maintain a regular presence in the West Bank and Gaza trying to ensure the protection of the civilian population living under occupation and to guarantee access to basic essential needs, notably food and medical care. Whenever necessary, the ICRC submits confidential and well-documented representations to the concerned authorities.

Based on its long-standing experience and in parallel to its on-going activities in the field, the ICRC is closely monitoring the possible impact of the planned Israeli Disengagement Plan in the Gaza Strip and northern West Bank. The humanitarian consequences of the West Bank barrier in East Jerusalem and in the northern parts of the West Bank are still an issue of concern shared with the authorities.

In the old city of Hebron, the ICRC is continuing its assistance programme in favour of the Palestinians living in that area and suffering from the effects of closure. A long-term monitoring of their daily living conditions is enclosed in a comprehensive report recently handed to the Israeli authorities.

Visits to detainees

Monitoring conditions of detention

ICRC delegates regularly visit Israeli and Palestinian places of detention to monitor treatment and living conditions. Findings are discussed directly and confidentially with the detaining authorities.

Palestinians and others detained by the Israeli authorities in connection with the conflict are protected by the fourth Geneva Convention and therefore fall under the ICRC's mandate. Persons detained by the Palestinian authority may also be visited according to a written agreement.

Detainees visited in Israeli places of detention

In June, ICRC delegates visited the 4 interrogation centres and Ashmoret, Chatta, Hadarim and Gilboa prisons. They also visited Salem, Benyamin, Erez and Efraim Provisional Detention Centres as well as Qetziot Military Camp. Visits were also conducted to Rosh Pina, Ariel and Petah Tikva police stations.

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 the Preventive Security, Military Intelligence (Istikhbarat) and the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat).

In the West Bank, ICRC delegates visited Jenin, Jericho, Daheriyeh and Ramallah Central prison and the interrogation centres of the General Intelligence (Mukhabarat) and the Preventive Security in Jericho, Bethlehem, Qalqilia and Daheriyeh as well as the Special Forces in Ramallah. Other visits were conducted in Ramallah, Jericho, Tulkarem, Bethlehem and Daheriyeh police stations.

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 June, more than 15,600 people from East Jerusalem, the Golan Heights, the West Bank and Gaza travelled to 23 Israeli places of detention and visited over 6,000 detainees.

Another way of maintaining family links while people are detained is to exchange Red Cross Messages (RCM). In the period mentioned, more than 3,600 messages regarding family news were exchanged through the ICRC between detainees and their relatives.

Latest distributions in the West Bank and Gaza

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

House destruction relief programme

14 families whose homes were destroyed in Jenin, Nablus, Jericho and Hebron received ICRC relief kits.

H2 assistance programme

In the city of Hebron (H2), the ICRC distributed food parcels to around 2,450 families particularly affected by strict closures.

Emergency assistance

114 food parcels and hygiene kits were distributed to vulnerable families in the West Bank and Gaza.

Cooperation with National Societies

On June 22, the PRCS and the ICRC signed the 2005 cooperation agreements on the cooperation framework, assistance to the Emergency Medical Services and training school, logistics, fleet, dissemination and Family Visits Programme as well as the H2 assistance programme in Hebron.

On June 14, the ICRC signed similar agreements with the MDA regarding assistance to the Emergency Medical services, Disaster Preparedness Management, dissemination, Movement integration, and re-establishing Family Links.

Preventive action

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 (IHL). The ICRC supports their efforts by raising awareness about IHL and about its role and activities.

Throughout June, several sessions on the ICRC and basic principles of IHL were held for IDF field cadets, officers of foreign relations and liaison division, checkpoint commanders, Military Police (West Bank Barrier passage unit).

On the Palestinian side, sessions on the ICRC in general and the detention activities in particular were held for Police officers in Ramallah and staff members of the Criminal Investigation Department and the DCO in Tulkarem.

Also, sessions were carried out for PRCS staff and volunteers, members of village councils, lawyers and women's centres as well as for staff of the Social Affairs department in Tulkarem.

In addition, an IHL training course was held for staff of Al Mizan Centre for human rights in Gaza.