Humanitarian Assistance during the Current Events
8 April 2002
The situation on the ground is very difficult and intense. Great efforts are being made by Israel to distinguish between innocent Palestinians and terrorists. This is difficult as the terrorists are not in uniform. There is great difficulty in assisting the Palestinian population in conditions of clear and present danger in the territories. We are working in close cooperation with the DCO and the Red Cross in trying to organize safe passage to evacuate the dead and wounded. The Red Cross is now evacuating wounded from Jenin.
This is an unprecedented situation because of the intensity of the terror attacks and the large number of terrorists. Our greatest challenge is the policy of granting humanitarian assistance. The distribution of humanitarian aid is difficult because of continued terrorist shooting at IDF checkpoints and of DCO officers, who have also been targeted. We are in close cooperation with the Red Cross to transfer blood donations, blankets, medical supplies and toys. Israel has transferred donations to the Palestinians from countries with whom it does not have relations. Hundreds of transactions of humanitarian aid are taking place and are not getting media coverage.
Ten dialysis patients have been taken by the Red Cross to Jenin Hospital; twelve patients were taken to Augusta Victoria hospital and some patients have been transferred to hospitals in Israel.
There are intermittent electricity problems. We have transmitted generators to Jenin, Hebron and other areas of need. Regarding oxygen supplies: in conjunction with the Red Cross we have transmitted 19 oxygen tanks to the Palestinian Authority. The IDF has played a major part in this transmission.
Israel has evacuated foreign staff of UNRWA and other organizations to Jerusalem.
The problem of safe passage is critical – terrorists have planted landmines and booby traps on roads and it is almost impossible to transfer supplies to some areas.
Bethlehem: the priests and nuns held hostage by the extremists of the Fatah-Tanzim who are using the Church of the Nativity as a refuge. The soldiers have been given specific orders not to shoot, even when being shot at. They have been given specific orders not to shoot at holy places. The nuns themselves have reported to us that they are being held hostage. Food is being transferred to the nuns in the Church, by placing it in the gate.
Food is also being transferred to the terrorists themselves.
Tons of medical supplies, immunizations and powdered milk have been transferred to the PA.
Jenin & Tulkarm: The curfew was lifted temporarily to enable the civilians to get supplies.
At this very moment 13 trucks of supplies are being taken to Qalqilya. The curfew will be lifted in order to distribute the supplies using back to back methods.
Tons of medical supplies, immunizations and powdered milk have been transferred to the Ministry of Health in the PA.