Palestinian civilians in many communities remain under a state of complete siege and severe restrictions on freedom of movement remain in place. (Arjan El Fassed)
Settler evacuation status
On Thursday a further 6 settlements were evacuated - Netzer Hazani, Gan Or, Shirat Hayam, Kfar Yam and significantly Neve Dekalim and Kfar Darom. On Friday, Israeli Police and IDF completed the evacuation of Gadid settlement directly to the south of Neve Dekalim. Following the end of Shabat, Katif and Atzmona were evacuated on Sunday along with a small group of hardline supporters that remained in Elei Sinai. Haaretz reported that 30 homes have now been demolished in Nissanit and Dugit. The demolitions in Dugit are due to be completed by this afternoon.
Over 200 Israeli bulldozers are reported to be in Gush Katif with the next wave of demolitions scheduled for Slav, Rafiah Yam and Morag. The IDF estimates the evacuation of settlers to be complete by the middle of this week, with an additional week required for the removal of remaining settler’s belongings. The IDF stated last week that a full withdrawal of settlers, IDF and infrastructure should be completed by 2 October.
The Gaza Security/Operations room centred in the UNRWA radio room has been operational since 5 am on Monday, 15 August and provides an information hotline – 08 284 7719, SMS service and blog facility. The UN Department for Safety and Security provides security information. OCHA and UNRWA provide humanitarian updates and coordination. Coordination meetings continue in Gaza city in the health, water/sanitation, education and psychosocial/child protection sectors. OCHA is acting as a focal point with the (acting) Association of International Development Agencies (AIDA) Facilitator to enable coordination and information exchange with the NGOs. There is regular contact between the Operations room and the Israeli DCL to discuss issues of common concern.
Palestinian workers have been unable to enter Israel since 13 August, although a small number of workers and factory owners are still being permitted to enter the Erez industrial zone. 22 August, 112 workers and 42 factory owners entered the industrial zone.
The IDF has stated that Erez terminal may be closed for a few hours at the beginning of this week.
Rafah terminal remains open for passage between Gaza and Egypt although all Palestinian males aged 16-35 years require advance coordination.
Karni terminal and Nahal Oz crossing are closed today given their close proximity to Netzarim. Previously, they had remained open since the start of the disengagement.
Delays of up to 1.5 hours between Ashqelon and Erez terminal are no longer reported. These coincided with the imposition of an external cordon around Gaza at the beginning of last week, is no longer being reported.
Internal movements and closure
14 and 16 August, the IDF informed a number of families living in isolated areas to the north and south of Qissufim road that they could expect a closure of up to one month (see Humanitarian Update, 16 August). Some families have since left their homes.
15 August. IDF notified people in the Al Ma’ani enclave that the area will be closed for one month from Wednesday 17 August.
15 August. Al Mawasi enclave was re-opened at Tuffah checkpoint for those residents stuck outside the enclave since it was closed on 6 August. It has not reopened since last Monday except for medical referral cases. The World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported that a night time curfew was imposed on Al Mawasi on 18 August.
16 August. IDF announced As Siafa enclave as a closed military zone. On 20 August, a woman requiring secondary health care left Siafa through the northern settlement block and was then transferred at Erez to continue to Al Awda hospital in Jabalia. On 21 August, three residents were allowed to leave Siafa to buy a specific type of baby milk.
19 August. Abu Houli junction opened at 5.30 pm with the onset of Shabat and closed at 1 am on Sunday, 21 August. It reopened at 10.45 that evening and closed again at 5 am this morning. UNRWA was able to organize a convoy of buses on Sunday in both directions to allow the movement of staff between Gaza city and the south.
22 August. The Coastal road south of Gaza city was partially closed this morning with the onset of the Netzarim evacuation. Between 8 am and 1 pm, 20 vehicles at a time were permitted to move in both directions under the supervision of the Palestinian National Security Forces. From 1 pm vehicles have been able to move freely in both directions albeit under the observation of two IDF tanks located to the west of the settlement.
No major humanitarian concerns have emerged as the Israeli disengagement enters its eighth day. Where issues have arisen, these have tended to be at the individual rather then collective level.
OCHA visited families in Wadi Salqa and Mughraqa on 18 August. There was a notable absence of people moving outside their homes and this was explained by the presence of large numbers of IDF tanks embedded in the areas and a general wish on the part of people to minimize movements until after the settlers had left. The areas were calm.
Seven Palestinian homes were occupied as observation posts by the IDF over the course of the last week. ICRC visited a number of homes on 20 August distributing a number of food parcels and water. Coordination was reported to have gone smoothly with the IDF and no obvious humanitarian needs were apparent.
WHO reported that the Ministry of Health immunization campaign has gone ahead in Al Mawassi in the last week as planned, while towards the end of last week three requests for emergency medical referrals to Khan Younis took place with no significant delays at Tuffah checkpoint.
A number of Al Mawasi residents claimed on 17 August that they had run out of food. These claims have been dismissed by the World Food Programme (WFP) who point to the fact that three month supplies were distributed by UNRWA and WFP in July.