Settler Violence and the UN, con’t

According to the UN, 305 Palestinian children were in Israeli jails in December 2009

Earlier I wrote about the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs’ report on settler violence in the West Bank.  While looking for the specific report that was cited in a Haaretz article, I found the UNOCHA Humanitarian Monitor for December 2009 (downloadable in PDF).  The Monitor is a basic review of the humanitarian situation in the occupied Palestinian territories (West Bank and Gaza).  While everyone should read the report, here is a quick overview of the improvements and digressions in the humanitarian situation:

Improvements

– Glass has begun to be imported into Gaza (previously disallowed) while flowers have started being exported;

The number of Palestinian injuries (937 in 2009) is the lowest since 2005;

– Ease of movement between West Bank urban centers increased in 2009;

– 2009 had a decrease in the number of Palestinians injured by Israeli security forces (down 35%) as well as by settlers (12 per month, down from 15 in 2008);

– Imports into Gaza were up 5% in December from November (although down 71% from December of 2005);

– December showed a significant increase of non-edible items imported into Gaza;

Deteriorations

– Monthly imports into Gaza are down 5% since January 2009 and 81% since 2007, the imposition of the Israeli blockade;

Palestinian construction is prohibited in 70% of Area C of the West Bank (area C makes up nearly 60% of the West Bank) and it is virtually impossible to get a building permit in the remaining 30%;

– 189 Palestinian structures were demolished in 2009, displacing 319 Palestinians;

In East Jerusalem (the supposed future Palestinian capital) 475 Palestinians are at risk of displacements and 4,577 Palestinians had their residency status revoked – denying them the right to enter East Jerusalem;

– 2009 showed an increase of “price tag” violence by settlers (violence against Palestinians in response to the settlement freeze and similar Israeli policies);

– 14 Israelis (12 settlers and 2 soldiers) were injured by Palestinians in December;

In many areas of the West Bank Palestinian children must be accompanied to school to avoid attacks by Israeli settlers;

– Nearly 3,500 dunums (1 dunum = 1,000 square meters) of Palestinian farm land is inaccessible due to settler violence, severely limiting the agricultural output of the Palestinian territories;

– The annual olive yield was significantly lower (due to Israeli acquisition of Palestinian land, settler violence and a new permit system in which farmers are required to apply for permits to reach their lands) compared to 2008, resulting in increased prices of olives and olive oil;

– Palestinian fishermen in Gaza are restricted to one nautical mile and are arrested or fired upon if they exit the permitted fishing areas;

– Tunnel activity in Gaza is continually increasing;

I highly recommend reading the entire report as it gives a detailed description of life inside the occupied territories.  In order to improve the humanitarian situation in Palestine, the UN suggests:

The lifting of the blockade over Gaza, along with the freezing of demolitions and evictions, dismantlement or re-routing of the Barrier to the Green Line, the revocation of the Barrier permit regime, and the opening up of Area C to Palestinian use in the West Bank, are essential steps to be taken in 2010 to improve the humanitarian situation and restore dignity to many Palestinians.

Photo from 3.070 km

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