Reference : V-P-IL-E-02570
Date : 12/07/2012
Caption : Gaza. Intervention of the emergency medical services of the Palestinian Red Crescent supported by the ICRC.
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.
Delivering medical supplies to Gaza's health-care facilities

The ICRC delivered vital support to Gaza's health-care facilities where, on average, 35 per cent of all essential drugs and disposables are out of stock and the situation is precarious. Between January and May 2012, the ICRC distributed 230 tonnes of medical supplies. Chronic shortages force patients to be referred abroad for treatment, which involves a lengthy permit process and rigorous security checks in order to exit Gaza.

Another ICRC priority, as part of providing proper health care for the injured and the sick, is to support the emergency services of the Ministry of Health and the Palestine Red Crescent Society. In addition, the ICRC regularly delivers essential surgical supplies and spare parts for medical equipment to eight key hospitals in Gaza.

In February 2012, when the lack of a reliable source of fuel pushed hospitals to the limit, certain services faced an imminent threat of closure. The ICRC stepped in to supply 300,000 litres of fuel to 13 hospitals in Gaza to help them cope with daily power cuts.

The ICRC also helped the Artificial Limbs and Polio Centre treat more than 1,200 patients, of whom 250 received follow-up physiotherapy treatment.
Original material : digital
Resolution : 5184x3456
Orientation : landscape
Colour/B&W : colour