Ofce for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairsoccupied Palestinian territory
THE HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF ISRAELI-DECLARED“FIRING ZONES” IN THE WEST BANK
P. O. Box 38712 East Jerusalem 91386
tel. +972 (0)2 582 9962
fax +972 (0)2 582 5841
Approximately 18% of the West Bank has been designated as a closed military zone for training, or “ringzone”; this is roughly the same amount of the West Bank under full Palestinian authority (Area A, 17.7%).
Approximately 5,000 Palestinians reside in the ring zones, (in 38 communities), mostly Bedouin orherding communities, many of which existed prior to the closing of the area.
Over 80% of the communities are located in the Jordan Valley and Dead Sea area or south Hebron hills.
Over 90% of the communities are water scarce, accessing less than 60 litres per capita per day (l/c/d),compared to the 100 l/c/d recommended by the World Health Organization; over half access less than 30l/c/d.
Food insecurity in Area C reaches 24% and rises to 34% among herders, many of whom live in ringzones.
Two schools and one kindergarten located in ring zones currently have demolition orders against them.
Some 45% of demolitions of Palestinian-owned structures in Area C since 2010 have occurred in ringzones, displacing over 820 Palestinian civilians.
There are 10 Israeli settlement outposts located either partially or completely in ring zones.1. In the 1970s, Israel declared large swathes of theWest Bank as “ring zones”, which are distinct fromother closed military areas, such as those declaredaround Israeli settlements and between the Barrierand the Green Line.
A Palestinian presence isformally prohibited in these zones withoutpermission from the Israeli authorities, which is rarely granted. These declarationshave had a serious humanitarian impacton Palestinian civilians and dramaticallyreduced the land available to them for residential and livelihood uses.2.
The ring zones, the boundaries of which
are not clearly marked on the ground,have remained largely the same since their
establishment, despite signicant changes
to the security situation.
Many residentsreport that there is little or no military training intheir areas.
3. Firing zone residents are among the mostvulnerable in the West Bank, with highlevels of humanitarian need.
have limited or difcult access to services(such as education and health) and no serviceinfrastructure (including water, sanitation andelectricity infrastructure).
4. The Israeli authorities regularly carry outdemolitions in these communities,
either inthe context of demolition orders or when executingeviction orders. Many of the communities havesustained multiple waves of destruction.
settlement outposts established in the ring
zones do not normally face demolitions of their structures.
5. Most of the families residing in or near the
ring zones are herders, who rely on grazing
land for their livelihood. They routinely facerestrictions on grazing livestock in theseareas
are subject to substantial nes and/orimprisonment. Reduced access to grazing areashas resulted in increased dependency on fodderand the overgrazing of some areas, both of whichcontribute to diminished livelihoods.6. Residents of ring zones face a range of otherdifculties including the conscation of property,settler violence, harassment by soldiers, accessand movement restrictions and/or water scarcity.
Combined, these conditions contribute to acoercive environment that creates pressureon Palestinian communities to leave theseareas.
7. Israel, as an occupying power, has an obligationto protect Palestinian civilians and to administerthe territory in a manner that ensures theirwelfare and basic needs.
restrictive measuresrespect basic civilian rights and meet aproportionality test, the humanitariansituation can be improved.
International lawalso prohibits the destruction or conscationof private or public property, unless forreasons of military necessity, as well as theforced displacement or transfer of civilians.
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