Reference : V-P-IL-E-02569
Date : 13/06/2012
Caption : Gaza, health centre. Artists employed by the ICRC's Cash for work programme sculpte clay murals with educational, health and social messages.
Photographer : KERO, Noora
Confidentiality level : public
Publication restrictions : publication without restrictions
Copyright : ICRC
Description :
ICRC website, Operational update, 15/08/2012
Israel and the occupied territories: providing support in Gaza and monitoring detainees on hunger strike


The ICRC continues to monitor the humanitarian consequences of Israeli policies and practices in the occupied territories. In the Gaza Strip, the escalation of violence and fuel shortages have exacerbated the already precarious living conditions. What follows is an update on ICRC activities in Israel and the occupied territories between January and the end of May 2012.

In the first half of 2012, the deadlock in the peace process persisted despite Jordan's efforts to facilitate talks between Israel and the Palestinian Authority.

In addition, the stalled reconciliation process between Hamas and Fatah proved too great an obstacle and talks on a unity government and elections had to be postponed.

Early March 2012 saw one of the most intense escalations of violence between Gaza and Israel since the 2008/2009 Operation 'Cast Lead'. The killing of a high-ranking official from the Popular Resistance Committees by the Israel Defense Forces triggered barrages of rockets fired from Gaza, injuring some civilians.

The closure of Gaza, now in its fifth year, continues to affect every aspect of life in the coastal enclave and to rule out any possibility of economic recovery, despite concessions made by the Israeli authorities. The lengthy permit process and the rigorous security checks required to exit Gaza, whether for treatment, education or training, remain a particular cause for concern. Through cash-for-work and livelihood-support programmes, the ICRC helps impoverished people cope with their precarious circumstances.

Initially, Palestinian detainees in Israeli places of detention staged a series of individual hunger strikes to protest against administrative detention and to call for their release. A mass hunger strike of over 1,500 detainees then began on 17 April. They demanded the resumption of family visits for detainees from Gaza, an end to solitary confinement, and a number of improvements to their conditions of detention. The ICRC stepped up its visits and closely monitored the medical condition of the detainees involved.

The ICRC also focused on the humanitarian consequences of restrictions on movement and access to land, of the increase in settler violence, and of Israeli military and law enforcement operations.

Tackling economic security and improving sanitation

In order to address the economic needs of families affected by the closure of Gaza, the ICRC assisted more than 10,600 impoverished people through cash-for-work programmes. Unemployed artists were commissioned to sculpt pieces of art with educational, health and social messages and certain roads were repaired in order to improve access to schools and farms.

In the border areas of Gaza, more than 800 people received agricultural inputs to boost their food production. In areas of the West Bank worst affected by movement restrictions, more than 100 farming households gained better access to their land as a result of the ICRC's support and representations to the Israeli authorities. The ICRC also delivered food parcels to 250 vulnerable Bedouin families in the Jordan Valley.

In Gaza, ICRC water and sanitation engineers are working in partnership with local water boards to upgrade the waste-water treatment plants, lay sewage and storm-water networks and pipelines, and renovate pumping stations. Between January and the end of May 2012, 200,000 people in Beit Hanoun and Rafah benefited from improved sanitation.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5184x3456
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour