ERC Amos ends visit to the occupied Palestinian territory

18 May, 2011
United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, center, and European Commissioner for Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva, on the right, greet Palestinian Bedouins as they arrive for a visit to the Jahalin School in the Al-Jahalin Bedouin camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on 15 May 2011. Credit: European Union
United Nations Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos, center, and European Commissioner for Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid Kristalina Georgieva, on the right, greet Palestinian Bedouins as they arrive for a visit to the Jahalin School in the Al-Jahalin Bedouin camp in the Israeli-occupied West Bank on 15 May 2011. Credit: European Union

Emergency Relief Coordinator (ERC) Valerie Amos completed a four-day visit to the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) today. During her visit she met with Palestinian and Israeli officials as well as communities in West Bank Area C, East Jerusalem and in Sderot in Israel.

Commenting at the end of her visit, Ms. Amos said that what had struck her was that everyone she spoke to, Palestinians and Israelis, wanted the same thing – to live normal lives in peace and security.

Ms. Amos visited a number of East Jerusalem communities, where people have been evicted from their homes to make way for Israeli settler communities, and where many face demolition of their houses and schools. She also visited residents in Area C, which remains under Israeli military control and where many communities are isolated by the Barrier. She said, “This morning I heard about yet more communities at risk of displacement, the Bedouins of Wadi Abu Hindi and the residents of Al Walaja. I hope following my discussions with the Israeli authorities, that they will look carefully at the key humanitarian concerns of demolitions and displacement in the West Bank.”

During a visit to a protected play-centre in Sderot, Ms. Amos was told about the fear and uncertainty facing the local community as a result of rocket attacks from Gaza. She condemned the indiscriminate use of violence which she said had to stop.

ERC Amos said that the Blockade of Gaza has resulted in a stifling of economic activity and a serious decline in education, healthcare and water and sanitation services, noting that consequently 1.1 million Gazans are dependent on food aid due to the Blockade. Civilians have been hit hardest by the impact of the policy of restrictions and have had to endure unnecessary humanitarian suffering. Ms. Amos called for an end to the man-made and protracted humanitarian situation through a lifting of the Blockade on Gaza.

More>> OCHA Press Release - OCHA oPt website