A review of the measures taken by Israel to ease conditions of the Palestinians in the West Bank – August 2010
(Communicated by the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories – The Civil Administration in Judea and Samaria)
Easing measures during the month of Ramadan
Extending checkpoint operating hours
- DCO/Beit El checkpoint (Ramallah) will operate daily until 24:00.
- Qalandiya terminal (Ramallah) will operate 24 hours a day for vehicles and pedestrians.
- Extension of operating hours at Crossing 407 until 24:00.
- Extension of operating hours at Crossing 104 until 22:00.
- The terminals Jalame and Reihan (Jenin) and 300 will operate daily until 24:00 for Israeli Arabs to enter the West Bank, especially during the days of Eid Al Fitr.
- Unarmed Palestinian police officers will control traffic at the northern Qalandiya and Moshbaim squares in the afternoon hours.
- Extension of Palestinian police patrols will continue for 24 hours a day on Friday and Saturday during Ramadan and will be coordinated according to security needs.
- Issuance of permits to visit family in Israel will increase, including children up to the age of 16 without an escort.
- During Eid-Al-Fitr permits will also be granted for stay-over permits in Israel.
- Friday prayers at the Temple Mount:
- Married men between the ages of 45-50 and married women between the ages of 30-45 can apply for special permits from the Civil Administration.
- Men over the age of 50 and women over the age of 45 will be allowed to enter without permits.
- Approval of 200 permits will be granted if the PA can guarantee the steady flow of people in and out of the Temple Mount.
- Israeli Arabs may cross into the West Bank through all the crossings.
- 4 minibuses and one transporter, that were confiscated from the Islamic Charity Committee during operations in Hebron in February 2008, were returned to the control of the Palestinian Authority as a gesture during Ramadan.
Movement and Access
Freedom of movement
- Since the beginning of the year 60 roadblocks have been removed.
- Road number 443 was opened for Palestinian traffic.
- Dahariya checkpoint was opened for unrestricted movement.
- Free movement of Palestinians to Azun Atme.
- 16 checkpoints remain in the West Bank; all of them are regularly open (2 new checkpoints were added after opening Road 443).
- Approval of tour bus access to Bethlehem through all passages.
- Approval for 50 Israeli tour guides to enter Bethlehem and Jericho.
- Approval for Israeli Arabs to enter all Palestinian cities and to access the West Bank through all crossings.
- Crossing Activities:
- Expanding the operating hours in Awarta checkpoint until 22:00 (instead of 20:00).
- Extension of the operating hours of the Tarqumiya crossing (from 6:00 until 19:00)
- Continuance of the pilot program for extending operating hours at Allenby Bridge (08:00-00:00).
- 50% increase in number of permits issued to enter Israel.
- Increase of 400% in permits issued for Friday prayers at the Temple Mount.
- Approval of 500 stay permits for PA employees from Gaza.
- Rise of 12% in the number of permits issued for Palestinians patients to receive medical treatment in Israeli hospitals (including East Jerusalem) in the first half of 2010 (during the first half 82,058 permits were issued, 14,675 permits were issued for children).
- 164 VIP1& VIP2 cards were issued for the year 2010.
- 481 movement cards were issued to senior Palestinian officials in the West Bank.
- VIP and BMC Card holders and family members (accompanying them) can use crossings that were previously restricted to just Israeli citizens (without prior coordination).
Economy and Trade
Trade and employment
- Increase of 11% in the number of trade permits issued for entry to Israel (in the first half of 2010, 22,910 permits were issued in comparison to 20,503 permits in the first half of 2009).
- Approval of additional 500 merchants from the West Bank to enter Israel.
- 517 new BMC cards issued to Palestinian businessmen.
- An additional quota of 400 trade permits (to enter Israel) were approved as a result of the increase in trade volume in the Nablus area.
- Approval to increase the number of marble and stone laden trucks (from 75 to 150) crossing through tunnel checkpoints.
- 10% increase in number of employment days in Israel in comparison to the first half of 2010.
- 10.8% increase in agricultural trade between Israel and the West Bank (in tons)
- Slight reduction (2.8%) in number of trucks at back-to-back crossings
- Sharp 78% increase in vehicle imports to the West Bank.
Measures taken to improve crossing activity
- Project to install weigh stations at all agricultural gates was finished. The project was funded by the Civil Administration (estimated cost 400,000 NIS).
- Extension of operating hours at Gilboa crossing until 24:00.
- Extension of permissible entry hours for Israeli-Arabs to the Jenin area until 24:00.
- Operating hours at Tarqumiya crossing were extended.
- Continuance of the pilot program for extending operating hours at the Allenby Bridge (08:00-00:00).
- Extension of the operating hours of Jalameh crossing.
Conventions and Events
- Investment convention in Bethlehem (May 2008).
- Economic convention in Nablus (November 2008).
- Doctors convention in Jericho (April 2009).
- "Business and Fortune" exhibition in Al- Bireh (June 2009).
- Trade fair in Nablus (July 2009).
- Local industries exhibition in Hebron (July 2009).
- High-tech convention in Ramallah (November 2009).
- Motor-mobile race in Jericho (November 2009).
- Christmas events (December 2009, January 2010) in Bethlehem & Jericho.
- Palestinian importers visit Haifa port (March 2009).
- Professional seminar for 30 agriculturists on olive-growing, organized by the Civil Administration (March 2010).
- Investment convention in Bethlehem (June 2010).
- Slight increase of 2.7% in the al-Quds Index during the first half of 2010.
- Increase of 5% in cement usage in the West Bank.
- Unemployment in the West Bank decreased by 3% in the first quarter of 2010 in comparison to the first quarter of 2009
- A sharp increase in number of tourists visiting Bethlehem and Jericho in the first half of 2010.
- At the end of the first quarter of 2010, 95 hotels were operating in the West Bank.
- Tourist figures in Bethlehem and Jericho (in thousands of tourists:
Environmental Infrastructure Projects
- Southern West Bank Waste Disposal Site
- A waste disposal site for approximately 700,000 inhabitants in the areas of Bethlehem and Hebron.
- Funded by the World Bank
- Estimated Cost – 23 million USD.
- Status – Project plans have been published. Work on the project is expected to commence in 2011.
- Ramallah (Dir Debuan) Waste Disposal Site
- A waste disposal site will be constructed near Ramallah.
- Funded by KFW.
- Estimated Cost – 15 million Euros.
- Status – Project environmental plans have been submitted to the Civil Administration.
- Nablus Waste Water Treatment Plant
- A waste water treatment plant will be constructed to serve Nablus and the surrounding areas.
- Funded by KFW.
- Estimated Cost – 25 million Euros.
- Status – Tender completed – estimated time August 2010.
- Renovation of 10 roads by USAID was completed (Areas B and C) in Jericho, Hebron, Bethlehem, Nablus and Ramallah.
- Implementation of 18 road renovations by USAID.
- Renovation of agriculture road in the Arava (ICRC) – Approval for work was granted on June 1st.
- Building a council hall in Jiftlik
- Funded by JICA
- Building permits were submitted to the head of Jiftlik council and JICA representatives.
- Approval for construction of 5 schools in the West Bank.
Rawabi – Building a New Palestinian City
- Building a new Palestinian city: 3,300 housing units in Ramallah district.
- Funded by a Palestinian private investor.
- Estimated cost – 300 million USD.
- During January placement of earth works began
- Planning and statutory procedures between the initiative’s backers and the PA were completed.
- Water supply and sewage treatment solutions are required.
EIB Project to upgrade electricity capacity in the West Bank
- Goal – to provide four electricity sub-power relay stations to increase supply of electricity in West Bank (Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah, and Jenin)
- Funding – European Investment Bank and the Palestinian Authority
- Project cost – 100 Million Euros
- Status – Planning Stages
Training of Security Forces and Infrastructure Development
- Coordination of training in Jordan for
- Coordination for 150 civil defense personnel for training in Jordan.
- Professional training of the Palestinian police: command, computers, driving, logistics, forensic science courses.
- Hundreds of equipment items approved and transferred for the use of the Palestinian Security Organizations (PSO).
- Building Infrastructure:
- Assistance in building and renovations of Muqatas, police and national Palestinian security organizations’ headquarters, prisons, interrogation facilities, operation rooms and training facilities.
- Continuing building and renovations – NPSO academy in Jericho, PSO headquarters in Bitunya, building a NPSO training camp in Jenin area, shooting range in Jericho.
Seminars & Joint Meetings
- 303 joint meeting were conducted in the first half of 2010
- Regular joint meetings between heads of PSO and the commander of the IDF Central Command, division commander and the head of the Civil Administration.
- Visits to the NSPO and Brigade Commanders meetings.
- Joint police committee.
- Joint Israel-Palestinian firefighters’ seminar.
- Joint seminars on criminal issues – identification and forensic science, drugs, antiquities theft.
Palestinian Police Stations
- 52 police stations operate in peripheral towns and villages in the West Bank.
- Gradual opening of additional 6 police stations.
- Opening of police stations in Urif and Zebabda.
- Expanding the operating area of Beit Furik Police Station.
PSO Operational Coordination
- Since the beginning of the year 1,424 PSO activities were coordinated.
- During the first half of 2010, 343 Israelis were taken out of Area A by the PSO.
- Imitative law & public order operations in city peripheries (especially Nablus and Ramallah).
- Intensive operational efforts and enforcement against criminal activities.
- Focus on road safety during the summer break.
- PSO activities against water theft in Hebron.
- Joint activities of the Palestinian Police with children during summer break.
- Approval for expanding PSO operations
- Extended working hours of the Palestinian security organizations to 24/7 in 6 cities: Ramallah, Bethlehem, Jericho, Tulkarem, Salfit and Qalqilyah.
- Approval for 24/7 operations in Jenin and Ketabya.
- Approval for PSO operations in Bartaa.
- Posting a Palestinian Police force at the Ein Bidan spring.