Today, the Humanitarian Coordinator for the occupied Palestinian territory, Mr. Jamie McGoldrick, expressed concern over the deteriorating security situation in the West Bank. Since 9 December, three Israelis and five Palestinians have been killed across the West Bank in attacks, clashes and arrest operations. Over 400 Palestinians and at least 13 Israelis were injured, and more than 200 Palestinians have reportedly been arrested.
Relative quiet returns to Gaza after serious escalation of hostilities in November. Significant increase in the supply of water in Gaza following increase in electricity supply from previous 5 to 16-18 hours a day. Food insecurity in Gaza affects 68% of households; unemployment at all-time high of nearly 55%. Increase in incidents by Israeli soldiers and settlers at Palestinian schools disrupts access to education in West Bank.
The period between 11 and 13 November witnessed one of the most serious rounds of hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel since the 2014 escalation. It resulted in the killing of 15 Palestinians, including at least three civilians (one of them by Palestinian rocket fire), and one Israeli soldier; dozens of homes in Gaza and southern Israel were destroyed or damaged, displacing at least 33 Palestinian and 15 Israeli families. An informal ceasefire was reached on 13 November, with the support of Egypt and the UN, which is still holding.
On 25 and 28 October, the Gaza Power Plant (GPP) turned on the second and third turbines (of four available) and increased its electricity output from 25 to 80 megawatts (MW). Together with 120-130 MW purchased from Israel and supplied through feeder lines, a total of 200-210 MW of electricity was provided to the Gaza Strip, the highest level in almost two years. This facilitated a supply of 16-18 hours of electricity in a 24-hour period versus less than five hours previously.
Over 68 per cent of households in the Gaza Strip, or about 1.3 million people, are severely or moderately food insecure, according to the preliminary findings of the latest Socio-Economic and Food Security Survey (SefSec) carried out in 2018. 4 This is despite the fact that 69 per cent of households in Gaza reported in the survey that they receive some form of food assistance or other forms of social transfers from Palestinian governmental bodies or international organizations. The current food insecurity rate in Gaza constitutes a rise of 9 percentage points from the equivalent figure for 2014 (59 per cent), the last time the SefSec was conducted. By contrast, food insecurity in the West Bank stands at nearly 12 per cent of households according to the same survey, down from 15 per cent in 2014.
This school year (since August 2018), the Education Cluster has observed an upward trend in the number of incidents involving Israeli forces and/or settlers reported as taking place in or near Palestinian schools in the West Bank and that disrupt access to and activities at these schools. Incidents recorded include delays and harassment of children travelling to school, at checkpoints and elsewhere; clashes in the vicinity of schools; and violent raids and search operations inside schools.
The Gaza Strip faces an unprecedented humanitarian crisis, impacting the livelihoods and access to essential services by its two million residents. This crisis has been driven by over 11 years of an Israeli blockade and an unsolved internal Palestinian divide, exacerbated since March 2018 by the massive increase in Palestinian casualties in the context of demonstrations taking place near Israel’s perimeter fence, as well as limited escalations in hostilities. The following indicators were identified by the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) to monitor the crisis, trigger humanitarian action and prevent further deterioration.
Demonstrations in the context of the ‘Great March of Return’ continued for the 36th successive week, resulting in the injury of 272 Palestinians by Israeli forces, with no fatalities reported. Among the total number of injuries, 79 occurred during marches to protest restrictions on fishing areas in the northern Beit Lahiya area. Israeli sources indicated that no incendiary kites or balloons were launched and that no attempts were made to breach the fence during any of the demonstrations.
In September, a total of 29 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished or seized by the Israeli authorities, resulting in the displacement of 51 people, and otherwise affecting 79 others. The number of affected structures remains below the monthly average of structures targeted in the past eight months and in 2017 (both 35). All the demolitions and seizures during September were due to the lack of Israeli-issued permits, which are nearly impossible to obtain.
Two days of intense hostilities in Gaza and southern Israel resulted in the killing of 15 Palestinians and one Israeli, the destruction of, or damage to, dozens of homes. The escalation, which took place between 11 and 13 November, was triggered by clashes between an Israeli under-cover unit carrying out an operation in Khan Yunis and a Hamas military unit, during which seven members of the unit and one Israeli officer were killed. The incident was followed by intense rocket firing at Israel and airstrikes throughout Gaza. An informal ceasefire reached on 13 November, with the support of Egypt and the UN, has held through to the end of the reporting period.