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Work with the United Nations

On April 8, 2009, MPT, International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS), Ecumenical Accompaniment (EAPPI - World Council of Churches), Medicine du Monde (an international organization similar to Doctors Without Borders), local representatives of the International Committee of the Red Cross, Save the Children UK, and others met at the OCHA (Office for the Coordination of Human Affairs – Occupied Palestinian Territories) office in Nablus. OCHA examines the humanitarian – socio-economic, psychological - impact on Palestinians from the ongoing settlements in the West Bank and other Israeli infrastructure, such as the apartheid wall and the roads and checkpoints that accompany it.

The purpose of these bi-monthly meetings with OCHA is to give and receive updates on the situation in the Nablus, Qalqillya and Jordan Valley areas. Briefly, the IWPS Haris area report was that nighttime Israeli army incursions continue with the arrest and detention of minors. Three of whom are still in prison. A young diabetic was allowed insulin, but not food; international observers were assured by officials that this young man was receiving regular medical care and attention, but when he was released he reported that he was never seen my any medic or doctor while he was held. Four homes were completely ransacked with the interiors destroyed. The media and ambulance were called, but not allowed in. Curfews are arbitrary. Human rights agencies and Israeli and Palestinians authorities are notified, but incursions and blockades continue.

The report of the Jayyus area by EAPPI was similar to that of Haris. Israeli soldiers sleep in homes, arrest people, order curfews, do not allow olive trees to be planted and dole out collective punishment. Jayyus has had very powerful demonstrations. (MPT was present in the fall for three of these.) However, the town is really feeling the weight of the heavy oppression and continues to reflect on how they must respond.

Children’s Rights Program reported on the situation of children in the Jordan Valley with the displacement of many Bedouin families. (MPT had been in the Jordan Valley doing protective presence/accompaniment in 2007 and 2008.)

OCHA distributed lists and information on communities at risk of displacement. Many of these are in Area C [Oslo Accord: under complete Israeli military and political control]. Some have had or have orders for home demolitions/evictions. Of the 18 listed, only one had legal assistance. There are more than two thousand children and adults who will be homeless if all the demolition orders monitored by OCHA in the area are completed; in addition, many other communities face threats of eviction or notices of demolition that are not on this list for various reasons.

Of concern to all, put particularly to the people of Yanun is the explosive devices left by the army, which children could pick up. A study of this problem in the general area will be made, probably by UNICEF.

A Norwegian woman from the Norwegian Refugee Council presented a plan for a northern West Bank legal project. This organization will work with Palestine, Israeli, and international groups.

The Norwegian Refugee Council Legal Project has three objectives:

l. capacity to train peace activists and NGOs to do para-legal work

2. limited legal assistance regarding housing, land, property, legal identity (but not detentions)

3. legal strategy and advocacy

MPT will assist on the work for the OCHA surveys of the communities in our area. These are posted on the OCHA website. These surveys are an important tool in working in the communities in the future. MPT will add a question on the need for accompaniment in the olive harvest in the fall.

Please see the following links for more information on the organizations mentioned and their work in Nablus governorate:

OCHA- Survey of Surveys (Community Profile Information)

Medicine du Monde- Palestine (French only)

ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross- Palestine)

Ecumenical Accompaniment (EAPPI)

Please check these excellent reports from International Women’s Peace Service, Palestine:

IWPS Reports

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