The Israeli government should immediately allow humanitarian and human rights and journalists unfettered access to Jenin refugee camp, Human Rights Watch urged today. Camp inhabitants remain under curfew without access to food, water, and medical supplies.
If the IDF can organize journalist tours of the camp, why doesn't it allow in food, water, and other essential goods?" said Hanny Megally, executive director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch. "It is imperative to allow humanitarian and human rights groups into the camp."
Officials of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency and other humanitarian organizations continue to be denied access to the camp. Press access is heavily restricted; the IDF has allowed selected journalists to tour the area under IDF supervision for two days. Food, water, and medical supplies are available on trucks in Jenin city, only a short distance away, but for the past four days no permission has been given for them to be delivered. Camp residents remain under curfew, unable to obtain supplies or locate missing family members.
A handful of delegates from the International Committee of the Red Cross and Palestinian medical officials were allowed into the camp this morning under strict IDF supervision as part of an out-of-court agreement to supervise the identification and burial of the dead, but not to provide other assistance to the residents of the refugee camp.
Human Rights Watch said that human rights researchers from local and international organizations had been held at an IDF checkpoint outside Jenin city and were denied permission to enter. Numerous unconfirmed reports of unlawful killings, the indiscriminate use of force, and other serious violations of international humanitarian law have emerged in the aftermath of the IDF's operations in Jenin last week.
"There have been terrible reports coming out of Jenin camp, and they need immediate investigation," said Megally. "By blocking the very people who can provide assistance or investigate what has happened, the IDF is making a bad situation worse."