European Commission provides EUR 1 million for victims of house demolitions

The European Commission has adopted an emergency decision for €1 million for victims of house demolitions in the Gaza Strip. 13,000 people who have lost their homes in recent months will be provided with emergency shelter and relief items, and with means for securing alternative accommodation. The funds, channelled through the Commission’s Humanitarian Aid Office (ECHO), are directed to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA), one of the main organisations providing assistance to victims of the humanitarian crisis in the Palestinian Territories. 

Palestinian court house, built with Japan's aid, opens in Nablus

The Palestinian Authority has open a new court building in Nablus in the West Bank, the first of its kind in the occupied Palestinian territory. It houses two courts: the magistrate court of the Nablus area and the primary court for the northern governorates of the West Bank. Japan contributed US$ 2.5 million for the construction through the UNDP Programme of Assistance to the Palestinian People. Izuru Shimmura, head of the Office of the Japanese Representative to the Palestinian Authority, said that Japan aims to support a unified authority with the responsibility for upholding the rule of law. 

Over 25 percent of Sheikh Sa'ad residents forced to leave their homes

In its new report, B’Tselem describes the isolation of Sheikh Sa’ad from Jerusalem and the West Bank, and the consequences for the residents if the Separation Barrier is built according to current plans. The planned route of the Separation Barrier in the area will block the only road leading to the village with an eight-meter-high wall. The building of the wall will force the residents to choose between living as prisoners in their village or leaving their homes. 

Switzerland and UNRWA to host major conference on humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees

The Swiss Government and the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) announced today that they are to host a unique conference in Geneva in June to discuss the future of humanitarian assistance to Palestine refugees. More than five decades after they first lost their homes, millions of Palestine refugees continue to live lives of hardship and poverty across the Middle East. Now, for the first time in 54 years, countries humanitarian agencies will gather together to plan humanitarian and human development strategies for the 4.1 million refugees registered with UNRWA

The Psychological Implications of Israel’s Separation Wall on Palestinians

The Palestinian Counseling Center released its findings of a preliminary study on the psychological implications of Israel’s Separation Wall on Palestinians in the Qalqilya District. The study found that high percentages of residents in the Qalqilya area are depressed, feeling anxiety and hopelessness, have suicidal thoughts and exhibit symptoms of PTSD, however, the condition imposed on the Palestinian people and its psychological affects has gone unnoticed by the world. 

Japan donates $5.9 million to Palestine refugees

Japan has announced a donation of US$ 5.9 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees. The donation includes an emergency grant of US$ 1,513,200 to support UNRWA’s emergency activities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip where the refugees have been suffering the effects of violence, curfews and closures. The emergency grant will enable UNRWA to provide equipment and supplies to its health centres in Gaza to meet the increased medical care the refugees there. 

Israeli forces target PCRS ambulance in Gaza

At dawn, Israeli tanks and military vehicles coming from the colony of Netzarim penetrated the area of Zeitoun on the south-eastern outskirts of Gaza. Towards 7.30 a.m. an ambulance at the PRCS base in Gaza was called to the scene to provide aid for the wounded. The team of ambulance workers attempted to take care of two wounded people situated a dozen metres from armoured Israelis. But as they approached the victims, the ambulance was fired at by shots originating from the Israeli military vehicles. The shots pierced the middle of the ambulance’s windscreen. 

Humanitarian consequences of Israel's military operation in Rafah

The Israeli Defence Forces have carried out a campaign of demolition and land leveling in Rafah, in the southern Gaza strip. During its three most recent incursions, between 16 and 22 January, a 31 year old Palestinian woman was killed and 8 other Palestinians were injured. Since the beginning of January, the IDF has totally or partially demolished 72 homes making 584 people homeless. The result of the house demolitions has been to create a buffer zone that stretches from Rafah passenger terminal in the east down to the Mediterranean coast. It is several kilometers in length and in places up to 200 metres deep. 

The impact of the Separation Barrier on refugees in Jerusalem

Israel’s construction of a separation barrier will severely impact the lives of Palestinians in the Jerusalem area in wide-ranging activities from education to health care to relief and social services, according to a report released today by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA). The report, the first in a series of regular updates, notes that 260 students out of a total 7,246 attending UNRWA schools, along with 86 out of 263 teachers, will be affected in their daily movements by the barrier, which will cut them off from places of learning. 

PRCS medic beaten and detained by Israeli soldiers

On 11 January 2004, a PRCS medic was beaten, detained and threatened with fatal harm by Israeli soldiers during a routine transfer of patients from Nablus to Ramallah. The ambulance was carrying a child with a cardiac condition and a disabled person suffering from leg injuries. According to the medics’ affidavit, the ambulance was allowed to cross the Howwara checkpoint. However, Israeli soldiers on Al-Sawia road stopped the ambulance. Israeli soldiers searched the ambulance and then refused to allow the ambulance to pass. Later, the ambulance was allowed to pass after coordination with the ICRC